Thursday, March 6, 2014

A New Face In The State Of Hockey: Matt Moulson

Matt Moulson
Left Wing
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 200
Shoots: Left
Born: November 1, 1983
Birthplace: North York, OntarioOntario
Acquired: Via trade with Buffalo on 3/4/14

What do you do when you have a team who ranks 25th in goals scored and 27th in shots per game but is still finding a way to win games? Trade for a goal scorer.

Yesterday, the Wild acquired Matt Moulson from the Buffalo Sabres (along with Cody McCormick) in exchange for two second round draft picks (2014, 2016). Moulson had previously been traded this year, coming to Buffalo from the New York Islanders as part of the Thomas Vanek trade.

Moulson was an original draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins (9th round, 263rd overall in 2003), but subsequently never signed with the club. He then signed on with the Los Angeles Kings for his entry deal, but was let go after two seasons in only which he played 29 games for the club with six goals scored.

When the New York Islanders gave Matt Moulson another chance at the NHL in 2009, he did not fail this time around. In the following three seasons, Moulson played on a line with John Tavares and registered three consecutive 30 goal seasons.

Since the beginning of that 2009-10 season, Moulson is 16th in the NHL in goals scored (129) and is fourth among NHL players for power play goals (47). That last part, is a pretty big point.

Coming into play Wednesday, the Wild were holders of the league's 16th best power play (18.6%). Their play on the power play since January 1st has been lackluster, but given Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise were out for a good majority of time, it is understandable. The addition of Moulson will give the power play more depth, and they can now boast two good power play lines with the addition of Moulson and the return of Koivu.

Moulson is not overly big, but he has a knack for hanging out front of the net. As you can see, most of the goals he scores come from very close to the net. The Wild badly need another player who is not afraid to get into the dirty areas to score.

When the team resumes play on Saturday, Moulson is expected to be on the second line along side Koivu, while Mikael Granlund anchors the first line with Parise and Jason Pominville.

Like McCormick, Moulson is also an unrestricted free agent at season's end, as he carried a $3.13M cap hit this year. He will be wearing his usual uniform number 26 (the one he previously wore in New York and Buffalo), which was last worn by noted shootout specialist Erik Christensen in 2012.

Welcome to the Team of 18,001 Matt Moulson!

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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