What Does Matt Moulson Mean To The New York Islanders?
The New York Islanders have already shipped off Dwayne Roloson and James Wisniewski for picks and prospects (in separate deals, as most of you know), leaving Matt Moulson as probably the most valued impending UFA on the current line-up.
Moulson has 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in 44 games played, putting him fourth on the team in points and second on the team in goals behind his long-time buddy, John Tavares. He is close to being on pace for another 30-goal/50-point season after finishing last year with 30 goals and 18 assists for 48 points.
He is only 27 years old and in his second full season with the team, becoming one of the great success stories of the league as a player that never had it easy when trying to crack an NHL line-up. But now here he is, in his prime as a scoring leader facing 29 potential other teams this summer that would probably love to get their hands on him; a player that goes hard to the net, scores timely goals and competes every night.
And don't be fooled, the Islanders know they have a solid forward that has value. But is he more valuable as a member of the team? Or as a trade asset?
It's important to keep in mind that Moulson and John Tavares, the team's current center piece for the future, are long time friends. Tavares had this to say about Moulson when I interviewed him about a year ago:
"We’ve known each other for about maybe seven or maybe even eight years. I played lacrosse with his younger brother and then we started training together and we’ve been skating together in the summers. I remember when I was about 13 or 14 starting to work out with him. I always appreciated and was amazed at how hard he worked and how he took nothing for granted. It’s kind of funny how things have worked out now, here together. We’ve really enjoyed it together."
TSN's Bob McKenzie recently tweeted that the Islanders and Moulson had spoken, but other rumors have surfaced that a trade may be in place in the near future.
Moulson is a member of the team's core; he's close to John Tavares; he's a leader, hard worker and has good hands in front of the net; he's also one of the big fan favorites on the Island.
In a dismal season of displeasure that started with many injuries and a horrible losing streak, signing Matt Moulson to a new long term deal would be something for Islanders fans to celebrate. But trading him, depending on what the Isles got in return, could be something to consider as well.
But would a trade dismiss the rebuild that Snow has stood by for the past two and a half years? He isn't exactly as young as the rest of the players on the team, but he would take away a player that the team looks up to and competes well with every night.
It's your call: should the Islanders trade Matt Moulson? Or should the Islanders do everything they can to have the feel-good story continue to write out a few more chapters here over the next few years?
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