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Window Shopping: Matt Moulson

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Another free agent preview. This time for winger Matt Moulson

USA TODAY Sports

Matt Moulson

#26 / Left Wing / Minnesota Wild

6-1

200

Left

2013 Cap Hit: $3,133,333

Age: 30


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT

2013 - Matt Moulson

Playoffs

75

10

23

1

28

2

51

3

2

0

34

4

9

0

0

0

5

0


176

21

13.1%

4.8%

Strengths and Weaknesses:

With questions surrounding the futures of Paul Stastny, Ryan O`Reilly, and P.A. Parenteau in Colorado, the Avalanche could be looking to replace some of their top six forwards on July 1st.  If you read yesterday's scouting report on Thomas Vanek, then you probably already know a lot of what I'm going to say about Matt Moulson.  Moulson is in many respects, the Vanek-lite of this years UFA class.  At 6'1" he has good size and strength for a forward. Like Vanek, Moulson has a quality shot, can read the offensive zone well, and uses his size and hands effectively near the goal crease.  Though he's not as mean as other crease forwards, Moulson provides a good net-front presence, and his quick hands and quicker release mean that he is effective scoring rebounds in tight.  Unfortunately, the Vanek comparisons don't stop there.  Moulson has a lot of the same weaknesses as his more expensive counterpart: namely, he's an average skater, he has a one dimensional game, his defensive play leaves a lot to be desired, and he's not very physical considering his size.

Contract:

Moulson is finishing a 3-year deal with a $3.133M cap hit. The deal did ramp up on cash, however, meaning Moulson received $3.9M for his services this past season.  Moulson scored 36 goals in the first year of his deal, 15 goals in the lockout shortened season, and 23 goals this season, despite playing for three different teams in one year (one of them the offensively challenged Buffalo Sabres).  Like P.A. Parenteau, Moulson was historically knocked for only succeeding because he played on a line with John Tavares.  His success in  Buffalo (11G-29P in 44GP) showed that Moulson can actually do some offensive creating on his own.  A 30 goal scorer is a rare thing in this league, and Moulson has hit that mark three times in the last five years.  Expect him to get a raise off the $3.9 million he was paid this year, something in the $4.25-$4.75 range would be my guess.

Why It Works:

If the Avs do lose or trade some of their top six forwards, they will need to replace some scoring in their lineup.  Moulson may be a good, more affordable option for the Avalanche while other teams go chasing after Thomas Vanek and Ryan Callahan.  In a lot of ways, this would be the Parenteau signing all over again.  Moulson is A) a guy who played with Tavares that we want for Duchene, B) a limited skater with good offensive talent, and C) a winger in the second tier of the UFA market.  He's a shoot-first player who would line up well with Paul Stastny if the Avalanche retain him, but could be a valuable asset on any line.

My Take:

He's a good fit if the Avs lose one of their top sixers, but there's really no need for him if the Avalanche take care of their own guys.  Moulson really is the Parenteau signing all over again, which begs the question, why not just keep Parenteau?  Regardless, Moulson is a talented offensive player who can keep up with top flight forwards like John Tavares.  He would likely fit well on the wing of Duchene, Stastny, or MacKinnon.  The Avalanche will need to answer those questions for themselves soon though, because I'm guessing Moulson gets scooped up by a team on day one.