Building the Herd – Stuart MoggPosted: 05/06/2015
#94 Stuart Mogg
Born: Basingstoke, Hampshire
Announced as signed: Bison season ticket night, 4th June
Bison coach Doug Sheppard pulled out three signings on season ticket night to add to the Herd’s 2015/16 roster; 3 returnees and a new captain for the club but we’ll start with the two time most improved player and newly minted defenceman, Stuart Mogg.
20 year old Mogg enters fourth campaign with the Bison since his return from the Toronto Attack in 2013. The former Bison junior changed clubs to Slough in 2010 and made his senior debut that season with the old Jets’ NIHL side and played his first EPL game that season. After 2 seasons in Slough playing EPL, NIHL 1, NIHL 2 and under18s Mogg took up the offer to move to Canada and join the Attack of the GMHL. He spent half the season in Canada before returning home and spent the rest of the season with the Bison and the Buffalo.
Mogg signed his first full season contract with the Bison the next year playing 50 times and scoring 3 goals and 2 assists as the Herd landed their first two trophies for over a decade. After winning the most improved player, Mogg returned for 2014/15 icing for the full league and cup campaign scoring 9 points in 54 games which saw Mogg spend the back end of the season on defence.
The Southampton Solent University student (and as a Southampton graduate, I don’t hold that against him…much) also helped the Southampton Spitfires retain their British universities national championship last month.
This is something of a pleasant surprise from a writing perspective. I think, if we all asked ourselves the question hard enough, that we knew Mogg would likely return to the Bison for this season. The change of position however is certainly very interesting.
Mogg has played forward for the large majority of his career in juniors and seniors including his stint with GB at the Universiade. He’s never been the most natural of goal scorers but over the last couple of seasons really seemed to be moving towards developing into a very good two way player; being that centre who would never score you 60 points but might get you 30-35 points and be incredibly good at both ends of the ice. Mogg obviously wasn’t at that point yet but the potential was certainly there.
Then the injuries in the Bison defence hit and there was a hole that needed filling which saw Mogg and Michael Wales both end up taking shifts on defence. Mogg looked a bit shaky when he first went out but grew into the role to the point that when both Baird brothers returned from injury, Wales moved back to forward but Mogg remained on the blueline with Baird the Younger being relegated to the bench which says something about the trust Sheppard placed in Mogg and his adaptability.
It’s a brave move for Mogg but also a smart one. In the last couple of seasons, the Bison have had a glut of depth in the forward positions. Whilst this has been good in terms of the Bison being able to run 4 lines, it’s meant that bar injury opportunities for the younger forwards to play more minutes have been limited. Whether the Bison were going to run 5 or 6 defencemen, the original plan appeared to be finally seeing Simon Hobbis in the EPL but with the Isle of Wight youngster moving to America for 2015/16, an opening has appeared and Mogg has seen his opportunity to carve out more of a niche for himself.
Already a very defensively responsible player, Mogg now gets time to focus on honing the skills needed to play as a defenceman full time whilst being able to step into the forward ranks should something go awry. Mogg doesn’t need to be higher than a 5th defenceman at the moment in the regular rotation and it’s a defensive corps that’s been playing together for a fair amount of time already. Add the newly signed Hiadlovsky into the mix as netminder, Mogg is obviously taking something of a step into the unknown but that’s a cracking support network to have if you’re going to make such a step.
Stuart Mogg was, in a way, at something of a crossroads in his career; he could have kept on with keeping on and possibly got lost in the shuffle. Instead he’s taken something of a risk that could ultimately really help the team and his hockey career.
Welcome back, Moggy.