Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres Deal Thomas Vanek For Matt Moulson


With their latest trade it appears the Buffalo Sabres are in full-out rebuilding mode. Darcy Regier has pulled the trigger on his first trade of the season by sending Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders in exchange for Matt Moulson and two draft picks.

Thomas Vanek was heading into free agency and it was rumoured he would not re-sign with the Sabres so Regier really had no choice but to trade the Sabres most lethal forward away. The timing of the deal is a little surprising as many expected the Sabres to hold out until the trade-deadline.

In exchange for Vanek the Sabres will get a solid forward in Matt Moulson, the Islanders 1st-round draft pick in 2014 and a 2nd round

pick in 2015. Much like Vanek, Moulson is a consistent 30 goal-scorer and should fill Vanek’s spot on the top-line nicely. The only problem with the deal is that Moulson will be a free agent after the season, was trading a top-notch forward like Vanek for a rental really the right move for the Buffalo Sabres?

Thomas Vanek had been a member of the Buffalo Sabres since they drafted him 5th overall in 2003. He spent 7 full season’s with the Sabres scoring 250 goals and racking up 488 points while wearing the blue and gold.

Moulson was also drafted in the 2003 draft but taken 263rd overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins and has bounced around the NHL a bit more. He spent some time with the Los Angeles Kings before landing with the Islanders. He’s played in 322 NHL games and racked up 118 goals and 224 points and is a three time 30 goal-scorer.

Moulson is a dangerous guy down low on the powerplay and will hopefully be able to jumpstart a Sabres power play ranked 29th in the NHL. Moulson has had the benefit of playing alongside a John Tavares and while Cody Hodgson is good in his own respect, he’s no Tavares and that could definitely hurt Moulson’s production as he benefits from an elite centre alongside him.

He’s the type of player the Sabres will be able to utilize on the powerplay and down low/in front of the net to score the “dirty goals”. It’s expected that Moulson will take Vanek’s spot on the top line, but he could benefit from playing with some young and speedy kids that will help him adapt to the speed.

Moulson has developed his game through the college ranks playing for Cornell University and while he isn’t one of the big name players on the Islanders he is an underrated forward who can put up the points for a team with his scoring instincts.

Darcy Regier managed to get some solid value for Thomas Vanek by dragging two draft picks out of the deal. While it’s almost certainly a downgrade from Vanek, the draft picks should help soften the blow for the future, especially if Moulson leaves as a free agent.

For the Sabres this was more of a catch 22 scenario. Trade Thomas Vanek now for whatever you can get or wait until the deadline and perhaps take a much worse deal or risk having to keep him until he leaves in free agency. The bottom line of this deal; the Buffalo Sabres are rebuilding and Thomas Vanek either wasn’t in their future plans or didn’t want to be apart of the longing rebuild.

What are your thought’s on the deal? Where should Moulson play?

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Matt Moulson NHL Thomas Vanek Trade

  • dave

    One rental player for another with picks to a weak upcoming draft I think managment is getting tired of the chanting for Darcy job at the games and pulled the trigger to make it look like there trying

    • Caitlin Campbell

      something had to give in Buffalo and that something was a trade.

  • Dan

    Wake up! The Sabres are not interested in improving the power play. This trade is about picking up an asset to trade. Since Moulson’s stats are not much different than Pominville’s, they should be able to get a decent return.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      My job was to provide analysis on Moulson, he could certainly help the PP. But I agree he could very likely be gone at the deadline.

      • lamarred1118

        Gotta be tough to be a coach in this type of environment

        • Caitlin Campbell

          It must be… You do feel for Rolston. Hopefully he can gain control of his players and get them playing decent hockey

  • Vic Soga

    Trade Moulson while he has value. 6 goals and 3 assists can bring a good pick.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I think He’ll be gone at the deadline

      • lamarred1118

        This just made being a fan more difficult for the short term, I don’t see Moulson being here for long.
        PS This makes Leino our highest paid forward, makes me want to puke!

        • Caitlin Campbell

          yup the Buffalo Sabres will be more difficult to watch right now. No Vanek and can Hodgson produce without his linemate?

          • qwicwted

            You know what…..I was really surprised at last nights game. Yes, there were lapses and Ott’s penalty was a killer – but otherwise, it’s the first time I have seen the players talking amongst themselves and they looked pretty good. Moulson gets into the dirty places and is a smart hockey player – I think he will be a good example for our youngsters. Ott needs to acknowledge that the league is going to be strict with the Sabres and while the penalty for the slash was too severe, Ott needs to tone it down and be “the Captain”. Thing is…..Sabres can only get better and last night they keep the game interestering – especially the last 2 periods.

    • Dano

      Moulson shouldnt move his family nor even unpack his bags.

  • Dano

    Good trade! More picks in the Draft! ‘ Duh-cy Repair ‘ to the rescue!

    As I stated in the thread Rich started.. Duh-cy robbed the isles.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Now that I’ve had time to adapt to the trade I like the deal Darcy Got. 2 solid picks and a very tradable asset. the Sabres are by no means done it’s open season in Buffalo

      • [email protected]

        I am withholding judgment until we see him play. All I want is to see are hockey games worth watching, so hopefully we can turn over a new leaf now that the speculation about Vanek’s future is over. I know we aren’t going to make a deep playoff run this year (unless there is a zombie apocalypse and the zombie virus only affects league leading teams). Clearly Darcy was after draft picks but perhaps it will lead to a more balanced season instead of loss after loss.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          I thought the 2 games in Florida were the 2 most complete games of the season and while they started off slow they got more exciting as the game moved on. It’s a learning process for the youngsters and it’s going to take time. Darcy is definitely making draft picks his agenda for the rebuild

          • [email protected]

            Yeah but we are still getting out-shot by a large margin, and our offense doesn’t exist in the first period. Looking at the stats, we have only scored 1 first period goal so far, 10 in the second, and 8 in the third. Out of the 13 games so far, 5 of our losses have been decided by a single goal.
            I think the biggest thing the Sabres need to do to keep things exciting is find a way to come out in the first and play like they have in the final period. If we can start scoring in the first, I think a lot more games will end up as wins. Problem is, a lot of our players are playing these teams for the first time and aren’t acclimated to facing that games opponents’ style. Once they get an idea of who they are up against, they start showing it on the ice.
            Like I said I am not expecting a playoff run, and I am going to watch the games regardless. But at least give me something to cheer for as someone who spends a lot of money as a fan.

  • qwicwted

    I like the deal. Vanek had already checked out and again, Darcy pulled a fast one. For someone most GM’s don’t want to deal with, he he seems to have gotten the most bang for his buck since he started trading the core – Gaustad et al. Moulsen is a hard worker and a character type of guy – willing to go to the dirty area (front of the net and walls) someone our youngsters can look up to. Now I’m really interested in what he will get for Miller as there are a number of goalies on the IR and I can see things heating up. Now, what I am wondering is whether LI took on Vanek’s total salary or whether the Sabres ate part of it. It LI took on Vanek’s salary – doesn’t that save us like $4M which can be also used to eat up some of Miller’s salary if need be?

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Yup it was evident Vanek was over being a member of the Buffalo Sabres. He was still producing yes, but the effort just wasn’t there. Regier seems to be a trade master haha I believe the Islanders took all of Vanek’s cap hit…the Sabres have a ton of cap room

  • Dano

    Caitlin :

    “What are your thought’s on the deal? Where should Moulson play?”

    Id put him on top. Keep his stock up as the whole thing is a winfall for Reiger. Theres no way Regier can loose on this.

    Come trade deadline, Moulson is worth another first or high second round pick. Miller is going to be worth at LEAST a first for any contender with cap space. Buffalo could wind up with 4 or 5 first rounders and a bunch of seconds before all is said and done..

    Darcy wont touch free-agency at all and the talent will be wasted due to no vets/mentors LOL! :)

    • Caitlin Campbell

      haha he does seem to be going all in on the young player boat, but you’re right they do need the vets, which is hopefully why he re-signs
      Ott . You never know, if we could get some solid picks in the next 2 drafts, the Sabres could be doing just fine.

  • Andrew

    Trading players we developed for future assets that may or may not develop is not progress.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      We won’t know it’s progress for a few years until the picks start to develop. Bottom line, Vanek wasn’t coming back Regier had no choice but to trade him.

      • Andrew

        Vanek wasn’t coming back because of the direction DR has the team headed in.

        I’m not a proponent of this rebuild thru the draft process.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          Either way Vanek wasn’t coming back they had no choice but to send him off.
          Regier has chosen the draft way to rebuild, the organization and fans need to sit back and see what it produces.

  • lee Munn

    Well I think Darcy did a fantastic job again.. I know most fans hate him… Me, I think he’s the best GM in the league for trades. We were not keeping Vanek & many just say ‘Oh, Moulson will just leave after this year’ but being from North York, Ont & playing 4 years at Cornell, he’s a lot more at home here than New York. or 28 other teams in NHL. And if he signs for approx ’4.5 M a year’ that will be about 3M under Vanek’s Annual $. If anything I wish we just had a 2nd round this years draft & a 1st round in Next…. You never know, if Vanek would sign elsewhere, Islanders could be a bottom 5 team next year… again

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Regier definitely got the upper hand of this deal no doubt IMO. He’s a solid GM at pulling off lopsided trades. If he could get Moulson to re-sign that would be awesome, even if he doesn’t he’ll get a decent return

    • jl9830a

      Getting Moulson for $4.5M per year is a nice fantasy.

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  • chas territo

    About time DR made a trade! it was a decent trade at that. Decent? because we got rid of a malcontent who was a wrong choice for captain. Got a similar player for rent and those extra picks that DR might screw up with. Now, trade Miller, you know that goalie who folds in big games.Please do not mention his 2nd place finish in the Olympics as a win, it was 2nd place, not 1st!

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