Over the course of the next month, Konopkaesque will review each player who suited up for the Wild this season, with a few exceptions. 1) They had to play at least ten games during the season and/or playoffs (sorry, Brett Bulmer, Carson McMillan and John Curry) and 2) they had to finish the season as part of the organization, which ironically excludes the man for whom this blog is named, among others.
So, without further blathering, here’s today’s subject:
Matt Moulson, LW, Age 30
Remaining contract (per capgeek): UFA in 2014
Games: 20 (Regular Season) 10 (Playoffs)
Goals: 6 (Regular Season) 1 (Playoffs)
Assists: 7 (Regular Season) 2 (Playoffs)
+/-: +7 (Regular Season) Even (Playoffs)
PIM: 8 (Regular Season) 4 (Playoffs)
ATOI: 16:27 (Regular Season) 15:00 (Playoffs)
What Did He Do?: Moulson was the big addition at the deadline, as Chuck Fletcher sought to bring in missing piece for the Wild’s offensive attack. At first he looked like a great purchase, adding nine points in 15 games in March and four more in six April contests. He seemed to fit best during the regular season with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle, and did what he has during his successful offensive run with the Islanders; live in front of the net and feed off rebounds for scrappy goals.
In the playoffs, Moulson’s offense dried up almost completely. Part of it was terrible luck. He seemed to hit the post every night, and later we found out that Moulson was playing through an increasingly painful injury which limited his effectiveness. Still, his totals of one goal and two secondary assists were not what the Wild needed. Thankfully the offensive emergence of Nino Niederreiter and Erik Haula mitigated Moulson’s ineffectiveness somewhat.
What to Expect if You’re Expecting: This is a tricky one. Moulson was a divisive figure amongst fans and others as his playoff production (or lack thereof) became a hotter topic. During the regular season, I would have bet anything that Moulson would be a lock to return, assuming he was amenable to continuing his career here. Now, not so much. However, I wouldn’t rule it out entirely. Besides Thomas Vanek and an aging Jarome Iginla, there aren’t many offensive weapons available in free agency this summer, and if Moulson truly was injured during the playoffs (and he certainly didn’t play so poorly as to be scratched outright) perhaps a healthy Moulson could be useful again next year. Remember, this is still a man who had 30+ goals in the three seasons prior to the lockout, and 15 during the shortened 2013 season. His total dipped to 23 this season, but the fact that he played for three different teams during the season likely had something to do with that. Stability and health are what Moulson needs now, and it would be a shame to let him go if he finds both somewhere else. Unless the Wild are all in for Vanek (whom I’m not sure is a great fit here anyway) Moulson should be brought back, if only on a short-term deal.
Trade Prospects?: If the Wild don’t plan to re-sign him, they should try to get a pick for him before the draft. They gave up a few to get him, after all.
Season Highlight: Second day in a row I’ve linked highlights from this game, but it was a big win and a few moments would likely. Moulson had three game-winning goals of the six he scored in a Wild uniform, and this one, against Detroit on March 23rd, capped a comeback win that the Wild really needed to have.