Is Matt Moulson A Sleeper Or A Dud For The Sabres?


Back in the fall of 2013, the Buffalo Sabres traded away Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders in exchange for Matt Moulson and a couple of draft picks (one of which is in this year’s draft). When he arrived here he put on a great showing by scoring two goals against the Dallas Stars, Sabres fans believed that they had come out on top of a trade that seemed relatively even. Looking to obtain as many picks as possible, GM Tim Murray traded Moulson away at the Trade deadline that same year to the Wild. Come summer of 2014, Matt Moulson decided that he wanted to return to Buffalo and be a part of the rebuilding process in the hopes of playing for a future contending team.

Moulson signed a 5 year deal worth $25M with an annual salary cap hit of $5M. With that he gained the respect of a lot of Sabres fans and they believed that they had signed the man that would provide a good deal of the offense in the coming season. He had done it while he was playing in Long Island so why couldn’t he do it here right?

Well, let’s take a look at what he has done with his time on the Buffalo Sabres roster.


While Matt Moulson was in Buffalo last season before being traded to the Wild he played a total of 44 games and accumulated 29 points (11 goals and 18 assists). Keep in mind that last season’s Sabres had trouble putting up 1 goal on the board (granted this season is similar, but at least we know this Sabres roster CAN score 3 goals a night when they play hard enough). During his new contract with Buffalo this season, Moulson has played another 44 games but has only put up 20 points (7 goals and 11 assists).

Who is responsible for the lack of scoring in a player that consistently had 30 goal scoring years? Is it really his fault?


Matt Moulson’s success with the Islanders was a product of his superstar center John Tavares. While playing in Buffalo, he has not had that high level of a center to play with. Anyone who reads this and responds that Tyler Ennis or Zemgus Girgensons are the solution to his issue, just remember that he has been playing with both of them throughout the season. They both do have a great amount of skill, but to maximize a player’s scoring ability, you need your key setup man.

There is proof of the power of a scoring duo all over the league. Think of the pairings of Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, and even the former pairing of Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. All of these pairings have one distinct scorer and one distinct setup man. They drive so well in this league because they have chemistry and know how to play well together and function their best when doing so.

Matt Moulson lacks the setup man to maximize his scoring ability because he has proven that he does have it. Does this idea sound familiar Sabres fans? Does the number he wears on his back curse him to a similar fate that Thomas Vanek once suffered?

We all know Vanek has a natural scoring ability and has the ability to make a scoring chance happen just from being on the ice, but in the years when he had a top level center to play with, he had 40 goal scoring years. If Matt Moulson were to have a top level center to play with, he could at least have a solid 30 goal scoring year.

Is He A Sleeper Or Dud?

As far as this season goes, we all know that it is a lost cause to assume anyone can hit a 30 goal mark, let alone Matt Moulson who only has 7. Moulson is not a superstar talent and that is why he is being paid $5M for each of his five years instead of 6 or 8 million like most top level stars. Moulson is turning out to be a huge dud as far as this season goes due to his lack of production, but don’t count him out forever.

The Buffalo Sabres have top level prospective talent waiting in the wings, and a player like Moulson will benefit from playing with the likes of Mikhail Grigorenko, Samson Reinhart, and potentially Connor McDavid/Jack Eichel.

Moulson has the overall potential that we want from him; to be a consistent scorer when we need him to be. This season is not about winning a lot of games, and GM Tim Murray knows that for a fact. He merely wants to evaluate players and determine whether they are going to be intricate parts to his future well oiled winning machine. Matt Moulson is one of those pieces.

So don’t give up on his so fast Sabres fans. Matt Moulson has the potential to be much more than what he is showing this season and is a great sleeper as far as the offense is concerned.

There is much more to come out of this man insofar as his production is concerned. He has all the tools to being a 30 goal scorer once again: Accurate shot, speed, vision, and determination. Just remember that they will come in handy much more when he has much more skill around him.

No he is not Thomas Vanek, but he is still a good alternative to help this team in the long run.

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