With Pascal Dupuis likely out for the season, it’s very possible the Pittsburgh Penguins could make a play for Buffalo Sabres’ forward Matt Moulson.
Moulson, who was traded from the New York Islanders to Buffalo earlier this season, will become an unrestricted free agent next summer. And although the Sabres hope he re-signs with them, chances of him returning to Buffalo are slim-to-none due to how poorly the team’s imminent future looks.
Because Buffalo is looking to improve their team by building for the years’ to come, it make sense to explore the idea of trading him. They may not get the kind of haul from dealing Moulson as they did when they acquired him, but knowing he’s still a premier talent almost guarantees a high draft pick and prospects in return for his services.
While his numbers with Buffalo aren’t impressive, the statistics he put up in New York are what scouts should be looking at. In 11 games for the Isles, Moulson registered nine points (6G, 3A), which is nearly a point-per-game pace. Since then, he’s collected 17 points (7G, 10A) in 27 contests for Buffalo.
Moulson would be a great match considering he’s no stranger to playing alongside superstar talent. His former teammate, John Tavares, is arguably one of the top-5 players in the National Hockey League. And if he can post standout numbers with Tavares, imagine what he can do while playing on Crosby’s line.
Standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing in at 205-pounds, Moulson is a player who will make his presence felt at the net. Willing to go to the dirty areas and able to find the open-ice, the 30-year-old is every bit as-good-as Dupuis. Even though Dupuis’ spot was technically revoked once forward Beau Bennett took his place, Bennett too is also out for a lengthy period. Plus, Bennett didn’t play long on Crosby’s line before getting hurt, so there’s little chemistry there.
When Dupuis went down, his salary also got taken off the payroll, so it opened up $3.75 million in cap-space. Moulson is raking in $3,133,333, making it more than plausible that Pittsburgh can go out and acquire him. As-far-as being able to re-sign him at the end of the season, should he like playing for the Pens’ organization and perform well, he could potentially become Crosby’s linemate for years’ to come.
Of course, Pittsburgh is already flirting around the salary cap with all their humongous contracts, so we would have to see if they can re-ink him. However, knowing he’s still relatively young and anticipating his eagerness to get a deal done, it isn’t farfetched to think he’d come back next season.
Pittsburgh needs to solve the Dupuis’ absence issue at some point, and Moulson’s impending free agency trip, accompanied with his contract, make him a reasonable trade target.
With the way Buffalo is playing this season, Moulson would probably be more than happy to hear he’s been dealt to Pittsburgh.