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Where will Matt Moulson land?

Jun 20, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

MattMoulson Getty Images

Since 2009, only seven players have scored 135 goals or more and as of today, only two have the potential to go to free agency.

One is Jarome Iginlatoday’s UFA of the Day — who said he wants to return to Boston. The other?

Matt Moulson.

Moulson, a three-time 30-goal scorer, could be on his way to July 1 after splitting last season between the Islanders, Sabres and Wild. Agent Wade Arnott told PHT on Thursday there’s “nothing to report regarding Matt and the Wild at this time,” which suggests the 30-year-old might be ready to go to market.

If so, it promises to be an interesting trip.

Last week, Oilers GM Craig MacTavish noted “‘it’s a good year to be a UFA.” The free agent market isn’t overly deep and in terms of goalscoring wingers, Moulson is competing with the likes of Iginla, Thomas Vanek and Mike Cammalleri at the top of the class.

That’s big for Moulson as he seeks what could be the biggest payday of his professional career. A former ninth-round pick — a round that doesn’t even exist anymore — Moulson never made more than $575,000 in a single season before his breakthrough 2009-10 effort, when he scored 30 goals and 48 points. That earned him a one-year, $2.45 million extension, followed by a three-year, $9.4 million pact the season following — good money, sure, but it’s crazy to think one of the NHL’s 10 best snipers over the last five years has never made more than $3.13 million in a single campaign.

That figures to change this summer, though the age-old question applies: Does Moulson want the payday, or a chance to compete for a Cup?

If it’s the former, he should have some options coming his way. The Nashville Predators have cap space and want to add offense (GM David Poile said he’d move his first-round pick in exchange for a top-six forward). The Islanders (approximately $27 million in space) could get back in the mix and reunite Moulson with his longtime running mate, captain John Tavares.

If it’s the latter — Moulson’s 31 in November and has just 16 career playoff games — what about Los Angeles? If the Kings can’t agree to terms with Marian Gaborik, who might’ve priced himself out following his stellar Stanley Cup playoff, they could circle back to a familiar face. L.A. gave Moulson his debut in 2007 and he spent plenty of time in AHL Manchester playing with the likes of Trevor Lewis, Slava Voynov, Alec Martinez and Jonathan Quick.

Lots of options, but one thing is for certain: Moulson probably knows his exact value and where he stands in this UFA class. It’s not a difficult thing to figure out — just ask Wild GM Chuck Fletcher.

“Players have to decide whether they want to come back and then if they want to come back,” Fletcher said, per the Star-Tribune. “Usually the market is somewhat transparent.”

  1. wpghawksfan - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    Would love to see the Jets make a move for him but really can’t see them making a big splash. He would look good on a line with Scheifele/Wheeler or Little/Ladd though

  2. d1122 - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    the Islanders could have kept Moulson who would have signed with them at a discount, they could have still had their 1st round pick and they would have better team for it, but the GM of the Islanders is the dumbest person who has ever been associated with a Professional sports team so that trade he made and this current Islander team which is in a state of disarray is what you have

    • hockeydon10 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      No, he’s not the dumbest person who has ever been associated with a professional sports team.

      The Islanders had Mike Milbury as GM. Just look over the list of top-flight players he traded away for players either washed up or just not that good.

  3. ibieiniid - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    I’d be surprised if the Flyers didn’t make a play. We know they need a LW and have shown an interest in paying big for one. I, for one, would love it.

    • flyboystransport - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:38 PM

      Makes sense but they’d probably have to move somebody else first

  4. lbeezyse - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    As a Wild fan who watched him in the playoffs, good luck. The Wild were nice enough to shut him down & do him a solid & say it was an injury. Moulson has Heatley written all over him with his declining speed.

    • clarke16 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:03 PM

      I originally wondered the same thing–but no, he truly did apparently have an oblique injury that was hampering him. You don’t just go from being a top scorer in the league to invisible without a good reason.

    • 19to77 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Man, it’s sh-t like this that pisses me off about Wild fans. I love the fanaticism, I love the dedication, but you people feel divinely entitled to every friggin’ player in the NHL. Every free agent is “Coming home to Minnesota!” every freaking summer, and if it looks like someone doesn’t want the hallowed priviledge of suiting up in a Wild jersey, suddenly out comes the sh-t talk. You guys were oh so high on Moulson riiiight up until it sounded like he wanted to test the market. Now he’s overrated or milking an injury or over the hill or whatever other creative excuses you can think of. The Wild didn’t “do him a solid” with a fake injury. Get the hell over yourself.

      • tved12 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        Dude apparently you weren’t watching these boards through the playoffs. People were ripping him constantly, doubting the injury, etc… This was all before anybody knew he wanted to test the market.

        Also, this isn’t the first fan base to do this. Nearly every “big” market does this, in fact I would argue that most fans do this in general.

      • bullwinkle88 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        You must have Wild fans confused with Leaf fans. Toronto has themselves involved in every rumor with every player in the league!

      • wayoffpiste - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        Your comment cracked me up….and I am a Wild fan! Your first 5 sentences were funny and true.

        But in all seriousness, the injury thing was weird.

      • lordfletcher - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        A few fans talk and you label the entire fan base? Come on now. I’m sure some were caught up in the moment especially those who hopped on the playoff bandwagon.

        You find great and bad fans in every city. Its no different anywhere.

        Best of luck Moulson, classy dude!!!

      • clarke16 - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        Wanting to *test the market* is just another way of saying that the Wild has not engaged Moulson in any contract discussions…

      • purpleguy - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:36 PM

        Actually, this Wild fan was never too psyched on the guy, as I thought (and think) he is good, but he was too much like many of the players we already had at the time of the trade. As to the FAs coming home thing, I’m not sure what’s so flipping bad about a passionate fan base being excited for their old high school or college stars to come home. Sounds like 19to77 is the one that needs to get over himself.

    • bhinrichs9 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      Ibeezyse I am a Wild fan too and even if people in the forums are thumbing you down you are absolutely correct. The guy is slow, he has a great scoring touch but needs playmakers and others to do the dirty work. Never once saw him create his own play even though him and Haula had a good chip ahead pass where Haula would use his speed that worked a few times. I really hope the Wild do not sign him.

      Great guy though?

  5. grigointhefirst - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    I can see him signing a juicy contract with Buffalo. He clicked with Hodgson and seemed to really enjoy his hockey in Buffalo. Plenty of money waiting for him.

    • bullwinkle88 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      NO! I don’t want him back here in Buffalo no matter how much fun he had here.

  6. 19to77 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    The idea of a cheaper Gaborik replacement with previous experience playing in Manchester with current Kings players has its appeal. He’s not exactly a model player for the Kings system, but then neither was Gaborik and look how that turned out.

    Another thought – the Blues would have a much easier time adding him to the roster than trading parts of it for Spezza. Neither really strikes me as “the piece” they need to punch through, but either would be a big help on the filling-the-net front.

  7. Hard to BeLeaf - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    I doubt he will, but would be great to see him play at home in Toronto. With Mason Raymond and Nik Kulemin out as UFA’s, Moulson would be a nice upgrade. He’ll most likely go to a contender, but he would look good in the blue and white.

  8. desertfan - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Lot’s of suckers at 5X$5M

  9. djshnooks - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Lots of talk about him coming back to Buffalo, especially if they make a move to bring in Spezza, or anyone who signals they want to start winning this year.

    Not what I want, not what I think they do…but the possibility is there for sure.

    • lordfletcher - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      why in the heck would Spezza accept a trade to Buffalo and why would Buffalo give up assets on an aging (I know he’s not THAT old) center who will more than likely not still be in his good years once Buffalo is back in playoff form, guessing 2-4 years away pending how great their draft picks this year and next year go.

      Buffalo has something very special going right now with their projected picks this year and next. They are not going to spoil that for Spezza

      • President Charles Logan - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:18 PM

        something special going on?? wow you are stupid

      • President Charles Logan - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:18 PM

        something special going on?? wow you are stupid

  10. nyrnashty - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    I think Moulson is a great player. Would love to see the Rangers get involved.

  11. darksidecowboy - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Dallas could use a wingmate for stud Val Nichushkin. I actually see the Coyotes overpaying, they really need some scoring.

  12. 19inarow - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    “…but it’s crazy to think one of the NHL’s 10 best snipers over the last five years has never made more than $3.13 million in a single campaign.”

    As expected, no mention of the GM who managed that feat. Wouldn’t be popularrrrr. Lemmings.

    It’s only “crazy” when compared all the GMs around the league who negotiate like an 18-year-old, 2-peckered, desperate virgin at a brothel.

  13. jetfan74 - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    The reason he scored all those goals was the center he was positioned to the left of and NOBODY makes more than Captain John, NOBODY!!! Those are the rules here in Islander country.

  14. zraskovich - Jun 20, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    Watched every game he played here in Minnie and wasn’t impressed. He had tons of chances to step up and never seemed to truly want to get there. I was excited when we landed him cause lord knows we needed the production. He was quickly overshadowed by much faster, much younger, and more eager talent….and that didn’t help his case here with fans. Had he had a Dany H type epiphany, I could see a small chance he gets re-signed without moving, but….no. Bye!

  15. ron4085 - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:18 PM

    Some background information—-Moulson and Quick are brother-in-laws. I hope that helps in his decision making for both with or without playing with the Kings.

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