Matt Moulson, Left Wing, Age: 30
Coming off of a whirlwind season where he played for 3 different teams, Matt Moulson will finally look to find a home somewhere for more than 3 months. Where that home will be is anybodies guess though. While speculation runs rampant, one thing you can be assured of is that Moulson will be a highly sought after forward in a free agent market that is scarce with elite talent.
As a natural goal scorer, Moulson could fit in on just about any top six line in hockey. A testament to that claim is the fact that only seven players have scored over 135 goals since the 2009 season. Of those seven players, Mr. Matt Moulson would be one of them.
Need further proof of Moulson’s offensive ability? Well consider this skinny on him. He is a three-time 30 goal scorer, he put up a respectable 51 points in 75 games this year with 3 different teams and countless different line mates – as well as 8 power play goals combined on those three different teams – and that he boasts a career shooting percentage of 13.6%.
With consistent numbers like that, how do the Toronto Maple Leafs make a run at Moulson?
Well, consider that with the Leafs estimated $22 million available to spend, Moulson could fit into their budget at something along the lines of the $5 million per year mark. Whether the market dictates that as his value is an entirely different argument, but for the Toronto Maple Leafs sake, $5 million per year with non-cap hit bonuses, it is a fair offer to Matt Moulson.
At 30 years old, Moulson is in the prime of his career and could provide the Leafs with a potent scoring threat that can not only put the puck in the net, but also isn’t afraid to go hard to the net either. With that kind of skill set, Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle would have a dependable two-way player that he could plug into a variety of scenarios throughout a game.
Aside from the tactical changes Moulson would allow Carlyle to potentially implement, signing Moulson would allow the Leafs to make an important internal positional move as well. That move would be putting Joffrey Lupul back to the right wing side, potentially forming a second line of Moulson/Kadri/Lupul. With the presence of an elite goal scorer like Moulson, he would help relieve the pressure to produce offensive output on a nightly basis from the likes of Kadri and Lupul. Take it a step further and insert Moulson onto the Leafs power play. The Toronto Maple Leafs would find themselves with two of the leagues best snipers in Phil Kessel and Matt Moulson.
Without a doubt the battle for Moulson’s services on the open market will be a fiercely competitive one. But there are a couple factors to consider here that may give the Leafs a chance of landing Moulson. The obvious one would be that he is from North York, Ontario, thus creating the “home town” appeal right away. But deeper entwined in that “hometown connection” lies the fact that Moulson had a baby during the season this year and his family remained on the east coast for the most part of the season while he finished the year in Minnesota.
Crazy outside the box thought? Maybe.
But if family life weighs into the decision, it could be a factor that bodes well for Toronto’s chances of signing Moulson.
I’m sure the opinions of ex-Captials GM George McPhee (whom he named his newborn son after) and best friend (and Godfather of his daughter) John Tavares will weigh somewhat into his decision as well. The relationship of those two will all play some part into Moulson’s decision.
Ultimately though, I feel that Moulson will take a contract that provides him with mid-level money, stability, and the chance to be competitive year-in-and-year-out. With Toronto being capable of providing all of those aspects, you have to believe that they do stand a chance at signing Matt Moulson.
What do you think? Do the Toronto Maple Leafs have a chance at signing at Matt Moulson? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!