34-Year-Old Left Wing – Buffalo Sabres
Matt Moulson Contract Information:
Signed to a five-year, $25 million deal by the Sabres in July of 2014.
Moulson received 12:29 of ice time and threw one shot on net in Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss to Montreal.
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Matt Moulson: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Moulson remains under a dark cloud with the Sabres after signing a five-year, $25 million contract two seasons ago. Heís scored just 21 goals in 158 games for Buffalo while seeing his original top-six role diminish to a fourth-line assignment; he even served as a healthy scratch during the season. The Sabres expect more from the veteran winger, and the competition for roster spots will be fierce for a franchise that has accumulated a lot of talent in its pipeline. The Sabres elected not to buy out Moulson this summer, a mild surprise given the poor return on their investment, but perhaps that's a gesture of confidence that the three-time 30-goal scorer can return to that level of consistency and production. The odds are very much stacked against him, however, after last year's career-low 7.2 shooting percentage.
Moulsonís line from 2014-15 belies his true impact on the ice. He managed just 11 goals and 28 assists in 77 games while amassing a minus-11 rating, but he and teammate Tyler Ennis actually drove possession while on the ice, and thatís a huge accomplishment given the poor play around them. Moulsonís best years were alongside John Tavares on Long Island, and heís about to get his best centerman since John Boy. Moulson will be asked to nurture No. 2 overall pick Jack Eichelís career, and could end up resurfacing as a 50-plus point scorer. If Moulson doesnít skate will Eichel, he will likely roll with Ryan OíReilly. Thereís surprising value in his game. Smart owners will snap him up.
Moulson scored six goals in 20 games after he was acquired by Minnesota prior to the deadline, but was never able to really fit in. In the offseason, he chose to return to Buffalo, where heís expected to be the teamís go-to sniper. Despite his lack of pedigree as a ninth-round draft pick, Moulson has managed to develop into an above-average goal scorer, posting 141 goals in 397 career games. Prior to his trade to the Wild, Moulson managed just 11 goals in 44 games, failing to establish any sort of long-term chemistry with the other forwards. With a full season and more time to gel with his teammates, he should be one of Buffaloís top offensive performers. Moulson has never been on pace to finish with fewer than 20 goals over the course of a full 82-game season, but it may be difficult to extract a ton of value from him given the expected hit heíll take in plus/minus rating.
You can say whatever you would like about Moulson, how he is just riding on John Tavares' coattails and that he really doesn't possess all that much talent. Bottom line is he knows how to be in the right spot at the right time and puts the puck into the back of the net. That is called hockey sense. Playing second fiddle to Tavares doesn't bother him and he's not afraid to go to the front of the net and score the ugly goals. They all count. Moulson seems a lock to score somewhere in the vicinity of 30 goals once again this season and seems to be the perfect complement to Tavares on the top line.
Islanders GM Garth Snow uncovered a gem in Moulson when he found him on the scrap heap three years ago. During those three season with the Islanders, Moulson has scored 97 goals, and posted a career-best 69 points and 36 goals last year. Moulson is not a great skater nor does he have a great shot, but he does know how to put the puck in the net, and that is all that matters. Playing on a line with John Tavares doesn't hurt much either for one of the league's most quietly consistent players. Moulson likley won't be the bargain this year that he has been the past three seasons.
Last season, Moulson proved that his breakout campaign from 2009-10 was no fluke as he registered yet another 30-plus goal campaign and added 22 assists to boot. Moulson earned a new three-year contract for this spectacular season. He is now a main part of the Isles' offense and plays on a line with the bright John Tavares. Teams will focus on shutting down Tavares, so Moulson might slide under the radar and continue to pile up impressive statistics.
Moulson came out of nowhere last season to score 30 goals for the Islanders. That was certainly not expected when he signed a one-year deal with the team before the start of the season. The Islanders are waiting for Moulson to have another solid season before they sign him to a multi-year deal, so the incentive is there for Moulson to continue lighting the lamp. He should begin the season on the top line with John Tavares.
Moulson has averaged nearly 25 goals a season for his three years in the AHL. He'll again play in the AHL in 2009-10, this time for Bridgeport. That being said, the Islanders may look his way for a stint or two throughout the season once injuries start to happen.
Moulson bounced around between the AHL and the NHL last season, averaging a point a game at the AHL and giving the Kings some solid secondary scoring. He enters training camp with a chance to earn himself a spot on one of the Kings' bottom two lines and offers limited fantasy upside as a result.
The leading scorer for Manchester in the AHL last season is back to start this season with the Monarchs. He probably will stay with Manchester for the rest of the season and look to make the Kings next season.
Moulson will likely play in the AHL this season he can adjust to the pro game from the collegiate level.