Many Islanders fans were disgruntled when the team traded Matt Moulson to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Thomas Vanek. Fans including myself knew the Islanders received the better player in Vanek, but it was hard to let a fan favorite in Moulson leave Long Island after being so successful with the team for so many years. An article by Eric Duhatschek in the Globe and Mail Monday morning sparked a topic of discussion for Islander fans. Duhatschek mentioned the possibility of the unrestricted free agent Matt Moulson re-signing with the Islanders this summer. Here is my input on whether the Islanders should consider Moulson this summer.
Pros: Matt Moulson was here through it all on Long Island. He played on a team that consistently was at the bottom of the standings and failed to reach the playoffs in his first four full years. Yet, Moulson never called out teammates or seemed disgruntled. He was a guy that loved playing here and showed characteristics that many adored. Besides being a great presence in the locker room, Moulson was best known for being John Tavares’s wing man and the two of them were about as perfect as it can get. Moulson was a 3-time 30 goal-scorer with the Islanders and had a career-high 69 points with the team. These are quite the numbers for a guy who only had only 10 career points with his previous team, the Los Angeles Kings. With the Islanders looking for a top-six winger this off-season a reunion between Moulson and the Islanders seems like a very logical fit.
Cons: Although Matt Moulson enjoyed success on Long Island, he was nowhere to be found in the playoffs last season for the Islanders. He was bumped down a couple of lines after struggling with the team on hockey’s biggest stage. After being traded by the Islanders to the Sabres, Moulson had 29 points in 44 games with Buffalo before being flipped to the Minnesota Wild, where he was expected to be a huge offensive chip for a long playoff push. After upsetting the Avalanche in the first round of the playoffs, the Wild fell to the Blackhawks in the second round and Moulson was not a productive player. He played limited time with the Wild in the playoffs while amassing only 3 points in 10 games. These are not the playoff numbers you want when goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are crucial.
Verdict: I am as big of a Moulson fan as it gets, but I think it would be a mistake for the Islanders to bring him back this summer. Although his price tag may have dropped due to poor play in this years’ playoffs, Moulson will not come cheap. The Islanders can’t break the bank on one person, as they have many positions to fill. The Islanders can look at cheaper options like Mike Cammalleri or Radim Vrbata to fulfill the wing spot. Moulson may be willing to take a hometown discount ,which someone of his high character might do. If General Manager Garth Snow can sign Moulson to a contract without breaking the bank, he should certainly explore it. Regardless of whether Moulson comes back to Long Island or goes somewhere else via free agency, all Islander fans will be rooting for him to succeed and will wish him the best of luck.