The trade deadline is now one day less than six weeks away. That means it’s trade-rumor season.
The big prospective deal bouncing around cyberspace yesterday was Matt Moulson leaving Long Island for Boston or another destination.
First ESPN’s John Buccigross Tweeted that he was hearing “strong rumors” Moulson was headed to the Bruins, and then Bob McKenize of TSN wrote that if Moulson is going anywhere, it’s not Boston.
Moulson would be attractive to other teams based on his expiring contract after this season and his affordable $2.4 million cap hit. Of course, the Bruins under general manager Peter Chiarelli haven’t done much in the way of rentals (for every Steve Montador there’s been a Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Recchi re-sign) and they would have to move someone off their roster in order to make room for Moulson and his cap hit. According to CapGeek.com, the Bruins can only add a player with a cap hit up to $857,242 as of today.
Occasionally from now until the trade deadline, I’ll try to provide readers of TheBruinsBlog.net with the skinny on any players whose names come up on the rumor mill.
Here’s a capsule look at Moulson:
Size: 6-foot-1, 210 pounds
Background: Moulson has been counted out everywhere he has gone. Often overlooked as a youth, he worked his way into a spot on the team at Cornell, where he skated for four years (and was a teammate of ex-Bruins forward Byron Bitz). He was team captain as a senior. In 2003, he was a ninth-round pick (there isn’t even a ninth round anymore) of Pittsburgh. In September 2006, he signed a free agent deal with LA and then left that organization for the Islanders in July 2009. Last season, in 82 games he scored 30 goals for New York. Through 44 games this season, he’s on only a slightly slower pace with 14 goals and 26 points.
McKeen’s take (some of the things the McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook had to say about Moulson prior to this season): Skilled, opportunistic winger boasts a heavy, accurate wrist shot, powered by hands that are soft and strong. … Cleverly sneaks into open space and really bears down on chances, firing through resistance. … Propelled by a wide, messy stride that lacks foot speed and some balance.
What will it take to get him: Costs are always going to be highest this far away from the deadline. If the Bruins didn’t overpay to bolster their front line last winter, they’re not going to do it this time around. The Isles recently turned ancient goaltender Dwayne Roloson into 22-year-old defense prospect Ty Wishart from Tampa Bay and journeyman 26-year-old defenseman James Wisniewski into a second-round pick and a fifth-round pick. The price for a former 30-goal-scorer in his prime would be greater.
New York Islanders scouts are at Bruins games all the time, so they know Boston’s players inside and out. Could a package of a young NHLer like Blake Wheeler or Mark Stuart, plus a combination of prospects and/or picks bring Moulson to the Hub? Would Moulson even be worth what it’d probably take to land him? The Bruins certainly have the picks (five in the first three rounds this June) and prospects.
TheBruinsBlog.net ‘s bottom line: Based on Moulson being a rental and that Boston would have to move someone out to get him, I don’t think he’d be a big enough upgrade to put the club over the top. So paying a steep price wouldn’t be wise. To me, his skills would just duplicate what Boston gets from Michael Ryder and Nathan Horton, and sometimes from Milan Lucic. While his work ethic alone makes him a Bruins-type player, the Bruins would be better served to pass on Moulson and hold out for a faster player that can back up defenses and do more to create his own shot.