As the 2pm trade deadline rolled past, and with no moves made on the day, Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher pulled the trigger on Buffalo Sabres left winger Matt Moulson.
After news broke last night regarding Wild winger Torrey Mitchell’s request for a trade, Fletcher was finally able to work up a deal with Sabres GM Tim Murray. In addition to Matt Moulson, Minnesota also received rugged fourth line center Cody McCormick for Mitchell a 2014 second round pick (acquired from Winnipeg in the Devin Setoguchi deal) and a 2016 second round pick.
A veteran of 377 career NHL games, Moulson has scored 135 goals and 127 assists for 262 points and a negative-20 rating over the course of seven seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres. Prior to being traded to the Sabres in return for Thomas Vanek earlier this season, the 2003 ninth round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins scored six goals and three assists for nine points and a plus-3 rating in 11 games with the Isles. In total, Moulson, 30, has 17 goals and 21 assists for 38 points and a negative-5 rating in 55 games this season. In addition, his eight power play goals on the year suggests he can be a major asset on the man advantage for the Wild. Top line left wing Zach Parise currently leads Minnesota with 11 power play goals.
McCormick brings added depth to the Wild’s forward corps, giving Minnesota a talented team with the grit to withstand a hard playoff run. In 358 career NHL games, McCormick has 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 points, a negative-17 rating and 503 penalty minutes. He had a goal and four assists for five points and a negative-8 rating in 29 games with the Sabres this season.
Fletcher’s big press conference this afternoon revealed a lot of interesting information. While there were a lot of inquiries about prospects Mathew Dumba, Gustav Olofsson and Kurtis Gabriel and Minnesota’s first round selection in the 2014 draft, Fletcher made it clear he wasn’t in the habit of mortgaging the future of the franchise. Considering this summer’s poor draft class, a second round pick was an expendable asset, as was another in the 2016 draft. Shrewd as usual, however, Fletcher was able to hang on to his 2015 round picks, a draft class that looks to be one of the deepest the sport has seen in many, many years.
Another interesting point is that Moulson not only helps the team now, but may play himself into a contract next season if all goes well. Montreal’s newly acquired top line left wing Thomas Vanek has made it clear he’s looking to hit the free agent market this off season, and Minnesota has been rumored to be his likely destination. However, Moulson appears nothing short of giddy with his new home.
My family and I are extremely excited to start another chapter of our lives with the incredible state of Minnesota and the @mnwild
— Matt Moulson (@MMoulson) March 5, 2014
What’s more, Fletcher did indicate he would be open to re-signing the three-time 30-goal scorer to a new deal.
Fletcher said this trade was "to help us win right now," but he'd be "open-minded" to re-signing Moulson #mnwild
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) March 5, 2014
For now, Minnesota is focused on the present as they enter the final stretch of the regular season. As the cards start falling into place, it’s looking more and more like a deep playoff run could be in the immediate future. If nothing else, these jerseys sure look nice.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) March 5, 2014