Contract: Moulson is signed through the 2018-19 season at $5 million per year.
Introduction: In addition to a 2015 first and second-round draft pick, Matt Moulson was acquired the first time in the 2013 trade with the NY Islanders, in exchange for Thomas Vanek (and my heart). He and Cody McCormick were then traded to the Minnesota Wild in 2014. Moulson returned to Buffalo on a 5-year deal two seasons ago, and has met with very mixed reviews since then.
Key Stat: 81 games this season. 8 goals, 13 assists for 21 points. That’s not so great for $5M a year.
Thumbs Up: You know that horrific slump that Moulson seems to be perpetually in since his return to Buffalo? Turns out that he’s been here before. Prior to ever being traded to Buffalo, Matt experienced another time similar to where he’s at now. The payoff was that he managed to become an elite scorer while playing for the Islanders, netting 30+ goals in three consecutive seasons before the lockout. It leaves some lingering questions, though – is Moulson actually an elite scorer or was he experiencing the luck of being alongside John Tavares in an extreme case of "right place, right time"? And at age 32, can he recapture that offensive punch or has time passed him by?
Thumbs Down: Moulson was brought back to the Sabres on a hefty contract, with the anticipation that he would be a major contributor to the Sabres rebuild. What Moulson delivered this season, however, was a lot of paycheck time on the 4th line and not a lot of anything else. In 81 games, he produced only 21 points (8+13). GM Tim Murray seemed to have a plan in store for Moulson back in March, when he was asked about Matt’s slump, point blank, and criticized his forward's training habits.
Memorable Moment: Moulson was drafted higher as a lacrosse player than a hockey player, when he was drafted by the Rochester Knighthawks. Oh, you wanted a memorable moment from this hockey season? I’m still working on it.
Voting: Using the good old grade school system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season (for the Sabres) C an average season, and F a very poor season, grade Matt Moulson on his performance this year.