Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Impressions of, and questions concerning--RW, Matt Moulson

Published by hockeybuzz.com, 6-4-2018

Right Wing--Matt Moulson
DOB:  November 1, 1983 (Age, 34)
Draft:  2003, 9th round (263rd-overall, PIT)
How acquired:  FA, 2014
Last contract signed:  July 1, 2014, 5yr./$25 million
Final year of contract:  2018-19

2017-18 Stats:  14 games played | 0 goals | 0 assists | 0 points | -9 | 10:17 ATOI

Buffalo Career Stats:  297 games | 46 goals | 77 assists | 123 points | -37 | 14:15 ATOI

What we wrote preseason:  Forward Matt Moulson has had a rough go of it for the better part of his three seasons in Buffalo as he's not been able to regain his 30-goal form from his time with the NY Islanders. Moulson's first season in Buffalo was promising as he totaled 41 points (13+28) on Buffalo's top line for an offensively inept Sabres team. However he's had trouble in the two seasons since. In 2015-16, under Bylsma, he fell down the depth chart in large part due to improper off-season conditioning. He came back in much better shape, and with a renewed desire last season, but was relegated to powerplay specialist status as 11 of his 14 goals came with the man advantage.

He has two years left on his contract with a $5 million cap-hit. Buying him out would have been impractical this season but next year may be a different story. Moulson is a great guy, who even took rookie Jack Eichel into his home to help him adjust. However, the speed of the game may have passed him by.

What we wrote mid-season:  Individual goal-droughts cost Sam Reinhart and Kyle Okposo regular spots in the top-six and an 0'fer on the season cost Matt Moulson a spot on an NHL team as the Sabres waived him and he's presently playing for the Ontario (California) Reign of the American Hockey League.

As mentioned, the 34 yr. old Moulson was waived by the Sabres. In 14 games he failed to register a point and was a minus-9 despite Housley giving him ample opportunity to succeed.

Impressions on his play this year:  14 games, 0 goals, 0 assist, 0 points, -9, 10:17 ATOI. Not much more needs to be said on his play. The bigger question revolves around what they will do with him and the final year of his contract.

From everything written and said about him, Moulson seems like a great guy, but with the game passing him by in a big way he looks done in the NHL. The Sabres have treated him as respectfully as they possibly could with him falling behind and out of the league and it's presumed they'll continue to do so. The options for the final year of his deal include buying him out, keeping him and waiving him again or trading him to a team that needs to get to the salary floor. Actual salary for Moulson this season is $2 million with a $1 million bonus. A team in need can claim a $5 million cap hit while only dishing out $2 million in post-bonus salary in a trade for Moulson. And they could possibly land a lower round pick in the process for doing so.

Questions moving forward:  Is there a team out there willing to make that trade?

Contract info via CapFriendly, stats via sabres.com and hockey reference.com.

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