1-On-1 with Lleyton Moore

We caught up with Tucson Roadrunners Defenseman Lleyton Moore on this week’s Insider Podcast to talk about his first season in the AHL and earning a contract next season with the team. Download this week’s podcast below to hear Moore explain to Adrian and Johnny what a golf handicap means.

Listen to “Laying Things Down With Lleyton” on Spreaker.

How did you get connected with the Roadrunners mid-season?

It actually happened in 2022; when I went to Arizona’s development camp. I made a little statement that I’m an offensive guy and I can play at any level. I think they liked my style of play, so just making an impact on dev camp helped me get a chance with the Tucson Roadrunners. With Slanes (John Slaney) and Pots (Steve Potvin) there with everyone, it was huge for me.

Was there ever a moment during the season where you told yourself you’re an AHL player now?

Once I got called up, it was a thrill, and my whole point was to try and get an opportunity in the AHL; so my first and second game I kept growing as a player in the league. I just want to identify myself in that spot. I’m capable of playing there, so I did every chance I can get to stay out there.

Take us through that AHL debut you had with scoring your first AHL goal in the first period in a huge road trip for the team.

It was awesome; obviously it was my first game and I was very excited, but at the same time a lot of nerves. I wanted to make a statement for myself that I can play at this level and make sure the coaches and guys can trust me in any situation possible. Getting that first goal was huge; not only for myself, but the team with trying to help them in the standings and win the game as well. At the end of the day, it was an overall amazing experience for me and my family.

When you were in Wichita (ECHL) as the top scoring defenseman, did you have the hunch that you were going to get the call up to the AHL soon?

The whole objective after my OHL career was to earn an AHL contract but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I wanted to stick it out and see if I could get something from the ECHL, so I signed with Wichita and their Head Coach, Bruce Ramsey, gave me all the opportunities possible to make that happen. I had a lot of supportive guys on that team, so I owe some credit to them as well. I just made sure to keep grinding every day because for myself, I’m a smaller guy; I have to put up some points and show everyone I can play in any league, so when I got the callup to Tucson, that was just a thrill for me. I just kept pushing every day since.

How did Tucson Assistant Coach John Slaney help you be a better player on and off the ice with the Roadrunners and earn the contract later in the season?

On the ice after practices, he would make us do some d-drills to help us with point shots, gap control, puck retrieval and just the little details. He has a lot of experience in hockey and off the ice; he says to make sure you’re ready every time because people are watching. From his experience all over hockey, he was an offensive guy like me, so just hearing his wisdom I took it in one ear, understood it and put it into my game. He was a very big help this year.

You talked about your size earlier and no discredit towards it, but you’re a smaller defenseman than most. How do you use that to your advantage?

I’m a smaller guy but at the same time, I use that to my advantage. Bigger guys don’t have quick feet but in my case, I have a quick three steps. I’m explosive and very deceptive, so I can retrieve pucks in the corners very fast and move them very well. I just have to work on little things off the ice; getting stronger and handling the bigger guys. I have to be smarter out there on the ice compared to other players.

What are you looking forward to next year?

Establishing myself for a roster spot; I want to earn that any way possible. I believe I can play in the league; I just want the opportunity and trust from the coaches as well. My goal is to stay up the entire time. I’m always going to push myself every day to get that one percent better and put a statement out there.