Matt Moulson cleared waivers at noon today, which isn’t a surprise. It was a little odd the Buffalo Sabres didn’t announce his assignment to the Rochester Amerks. Now, we know why. The 34-year-old forward was instead assigned to the Ontario Reign. The Reign are the minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings. Here are the press release comments for Jason Botterill that explains the decision:
“Matt has been a true professional, especially during this difficult decision,” Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill said. “Matt has previously spent time within the Kings organization early in his career and we felt this would be the best opportunity for him. From an organizational standpoint, we felt that with our young forwards in place in Rochester, we did not want to take away from their development and ice time by adding another veteran player at this time.”
Clearly, Botterill didn’t want Moulson taking time away from players they’re trying to develop in Rochester. Moulson played 29 games in the Kings organization before moving on to the New York Islanders.
Moulson could have requested being assigned elsewhere or the Sabres could have facilitated this assignment on their own. He’s still “property” of the Sabres, but is on a loan to Ontario. It’s also not an indication of a trade being worked on. It’s very likely just a straight loan.
This type of situation is rare, but we’ve seen it happen before. Tim Kennedy was assigned to the Rochester Amerks from the Carolina Hurricanes organization last year. A few years ago Sean Avery was assigned to the Hartford Wolfpack which was the New York Rangers minor league affiliate, while he was still part of the Dallas Stars.
Players can be assigned to different minor league affiliates as long as it is approved by the team’s affiliate in which they’ll be reporting.