Months after setting the KHL record for regular season goal scoring, Jokerit’s Steve Moses has announced that he won’t be returning to the team next season. Moses had 36 goals and 57 points in 60 games for Jokerit in 2014-15, and the NHL seems like the next step for the 25-year-old winger.
After three seasons with Finland’s Helsinki Jokerit — and only months since he broke the KHL’s single-season goal-scoring record — winger Steve Moses has announced he is leaving the KHL club, and he’s likely to be heading back to North America.
In a video posted on the Jokerit website, Moses thanked the organization and its fans for all the support he’s received over the past three seasons. In the interview, Moses talked about what his future may hold and mentioned that he has been thinking about returning to North America.
The move doesn’t come as a huge surprise, seeing as Moses put himself on the map this season by scoring 36 goals — the single season record — in 60 games for Jokerit in the KHL, their first season in the primarily Russian league. His 57 points were seventh most in the league, and the 25-year-old will likely have more than a few suitors now that he’s a free agent.
“For me, this was a season that I’ll always remember,” Moses said in the video. “I don’t think I’ve ever made so much jump as a player in one year. It was definitely something that has a lot to do with this team, the players I was playing with, the coaches and everyone involved.”
The increase to 36 goals was a big one for Moses. The year prior in SM-Liiga, Finland’s top league, Moses had registered 12 goals and 23 points in 42 games, somewhat of a sophomore slump from the 22 goals and 38 points he scored as a professional rookie in 2012-13.
“It was mostly just development as a person and growing up a little bit, realizing this is a game and not taking it too seriously and enjoying yourself when you go on the ice,” said Moses. “It helps when you’re playing on a good team with great linemates — that was certainly the case this year.”
Before going to Jokerit as a 22-year-old following four years at the NCAA’s University of New Hampshire, Moses did suit up in eight games for the Connecticut Whale, but he failed to stick with the team and wasn’t brought back the following year. When he left for Jokerit, he says he believed it to be what he had to do in order to make it but the stay has turned into more.
A smaller but speedier winger — Moses stands 5-foot-9, 172 pounds — he’ll look to follow in the footsteps of goal scorers who made it despite their size. With the way Johnny Gaudreau has played this season, there’s no reason to believe a team wouldn’t give him a shot.
If Moses signs an NHL deal, which is obviously his hope, he’ll get more than a fair shake at making it in the league. Dominating as he did this season on the big KHL ice is no small feat, and pure goal scoring doesn’t come around too often.
And if things don’t work out in North America, he’s not ruling out heading back to Jokerit — a place he referred to as, “home.”
“As far as my last time playing in Jokerit, it’s too early to tell that, I’m young,” Moses said. “For sure I would love to be here again at some time. You never know what’s going to happen with hockey careers. I definitely wouldn’t mind coming home at some point.”