The Biel defenseman discovered the NHL under the colors of the Arizona Coyotes this season. The 21-year-old’s first appearances in the big league have impressed the midfielder.
On December 15, Janis Moser made his NHL debut in the Arizona Coyotes’ home loss to the New York Rangers (2-3). For this great debut, the Swiss defender scraped the ice of the Gila River Arena for 18’56”. Based in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix, the franchise wanted to show the 21-year-old Zealander they were counting on him from the start.
She had already sent a strong signal to the former HC Biel player by recalling him after just 18 games (12 points) in the AHL at regular club Tuscon Roadrunners. André Tourigny has not regretted this choice. But on the contrary.
like a sponge
“Janis has been very, very good with us this season,” confirms the Arizona Coyotes coach. He has great game intelligence and is very competitive. As a very young player, he still had a lot to learn. But he came with an open mind and absorbed the training like a sponge. Janis has also shown that she wants to get better every day. We loved the person, but we also loved the athlete. He’s a guy who has a bright future ahead of him in the NHL.”
His first 43 appearances (15 points) rather confirm the words of the Quebec technician. But more impressive than the stats was the impression the Switzerland international made in the Arizona dressing room.
“Janis adapted very easily to our team,” acknowledges Antoine Roussel. He arrived and immediately felt comfortable. This allowed him to perform and earn a place on the team. It’s impressive for a young person of his age to be able to establish himself so quickly. He still has a lot of room for improvement, which will make him a full NHL defenseman. He will definitely be a guy who can play in the top 4 of a team that can claim great honors in a few years.
The 32-year-old French forward knows what he’s talking about. Passed by the Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks, the Roubaix native had many partners during his career before joining Arizona last summer. This experience allowed him to appreciate a trait in his young teammate that wasn’t always well perceived.
“He came with that confidence that wasn’t uncomfortable but that allowed him to be successful in what he did,” explains the Habs. As a result, he was immediately successful in the league. Also, as soon as he arrived, the team started playing better. That was obviously what was missing, what the team needed.
For Antoine Roussel, the presence of Janis Moser in the Coyotes’ rear guard even made it possible to improve every individual. “Janis is someone who just plays, who makes good intelligent moves,” explains the striker. It doesn’t make life difficult. It makes everyone around him better. His skating is also really good, which regularly gets him out of tricky situations.
Fishermen under the spell
Precious, these skills logically allowed the Biel native to be held by Patrick Fischer to take part in the World Cup in Finland, where he proves effort after effort that he is a pillar of the Swiss team.
“Janis is just incredible,” says the national coach. He is a modern defender with above-average game intelligence. He reads the game perfectly, runs well and has good technique. It’s just a natural talent. He is a defender who is strong defensively but is becoming more and more offensive.
In Helsinki, the Swiss No. 86 has scored three goals (one goal, two assists) after six games. This is already more than in his first two appearances in world tournaments (0 points in 2019, 2 in 2021). At that time, however, he was primarily committed to gaining experience.
“When I chose him for his first world championship in 2019, it was because he came out of a very good junior world championship,” remembers Patrick Fischer. We took him to Bratislava when he was only 18-19 years old. That didn’t stop him from playing very well before he got injured. But you didn’t have to be a prophet to see that he would become a good player. I also see a lot of similarities between him and Roman Josi in the way they skate, in the execution of the pass.
In the footsteps of Josi?
The comparison made by the technician from Zug is informative, even if it is not uniform. But if André Tourigny refuses to draw the same parallel, it is mainly to protect his child prodigy.
“I think it’s too early to put that pressure on him,” warns the man who serves as Canada’s assistant coach in Helsinki. He’s a player who hasn’t reached his full potential yet. There are still many places where it can be improved. We’ll see how far it can go, but if he keeps the same attitude, the same work ethic, he’ll have an opportunity to improve a lot.
Antoine Roussel Sport towards his club coach. “It would be premature to put such a label on Janis,” he warns. It would put pressure on him for nothing. Of course he has a lot of qualities and it’s a level that maybe he can reach later, but it puts a lot of pressure on him when he’s only 21 years old. It wouldn’t be fair to compare him to a guy who has 96 points in the league this season. I’ll gladly admit that his playing style is very close to Roman Josi’s. But remember the latter wasn’t as good as he is now when he came into the league. He had to grow up to reach such a level.
At 21, Janis Moser still has plenty of time to develop. And one day to free himself from his idol.
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