Last week, we spoke how the Rangers might target Mike Cammalleri at the trade deadline to fill a need for top-six scoring consistency. It is the only real need for this team since the trade for Kevin Klein, as that trade addressed two needs: toughness on defense, and a right handed shot for the third pairing. With the blue line stabilized, the focus turns to offense.
Moulson was shipped to Buffalo by the Islanders in the Thomas Vanek deal. While that deal may have been puzzling to say the least, it doesn’t take away from Moulson’s value as a rental player. The 30-year-old LW has three straight 30-goal seasons under his belt, not including a 30-goal pace last season. He may not hit 30 this season, but his 15 goals would put him in second place tie in New York.
Moulson carries a $3.13 million contract through the end of this season, so the Rangers can fit him easily under the cap without a need to dump salary. Moulson is also rather durable, missing just one game in his tenure on Long Island. Those two alone could make him a better option than Cammalleri.
His #fancystats aren’t bad, and are definitely affected by the teams for which he has played. His +1.1 CF% relative (45.4 CF%) screams bad teammates. He’s been getting top competition across from him (29.4% ToTm% QoC) while starting less than half of his shifts (48%) in the offensive zone.
Perhaps the one concerning issue with Moulson is that he appears to be a powerplay specialist. Half of his points this season have come with the man advantage. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the Rangers already have one LW who scores almost entirely on the powerplay in Benoit Pouliot. Pouliot has shown great chemistry with Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard as well. Moulson is the better player, but sometimes you stick with what’s working.
Moulson doesn’t have the name pedigree that Cammalleri does, but I would expect his price to be around the same. I would expect it would take either a tier 2 prospect and a first round pick, or a tier 1 prospect and a second round pick to land him.
As the trade deadline approaches, Glen Sather is going to look at all possibilities to upgrade the forwards for a playoff push. There aren’t many options available, which makes this a seller’s market come March. Moulson represents a player that is familiar with the division, and a player that would help the top-six scoring consistency. However the Rangers are pretty set at LW (Pouliot, Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin), and already have one who scores primarily on the powerplay. As a pure rental, he might be one of the better options out there.