When the Sabres acquired Matt Moulson, many fans wondered how the former 293rd overall pick would do without John Tavares. Moulson had found success by playing on the same line as Tavares and scored at least 30 goals in each of his first three seasons with the New York Islanders. He was on pace for 30 in the following year, but hit 15 in the shortened season in 2012-13.
The next year is when things began to change. Moulson played for three teams throughout the 2013-14: New York, Buffalo and Minnesota. Even with that, he managed to put up 23 goals in 75 games, not too far off of his usual pace.
Moulson enjoyed his short stint with Buffalo and wanted to come back, and the Sabres were glad to have him back. He was a solid forward and was sure to be at least a 20 goal scorer.
But that didn’t happen.
While the Sabres struggled as a team in general, Moulson only recorded 41 points (13 goals, 28 assists) in his first full season with Buffalo. So, he had a bad season playing for the league’s worst team. He’ll do better.
He hasn’t. Buffalo have improved this season, but it’s not reflected in the standings. They’ve scored 121 goals this season, but Moulson has just four of them. He scored them in the first 12 games of the season, and hasn’t done much since.
Moulson has been performing a magic act as he has disappeared from the scoring sheet. He hasn’t scored in the last 40 games, and during that time, he has just seven assists. He’s also gone pointless in 22 of the last 23 games.
His playing time has gone down considerably and he’s playing only 10 minutes per night.
Moulson has been given chance after chance to find production. Dan Bylsma even moved him to the top line with Jack Eichel, but it hasn’t shown.
Tonight, the Sabres take on the Florida Panthers and if Moulson is goalless once more, it’ll make the streak reach 41 games, half of an entire season.
“All you can do is put in the work and hopefully it pays off,” Moulson said. “I’ve been working, trying to improve every day and you just have to transfer that over to the game. … I think that’s all I’ve been trying to concentrate on personally the last little bit and you can’t really let your mind get too mixed up in the other things.”
At this point, Moulson needs to find a way to score somehow, whether it be an empty net goal or a lucky bounce off his leg. He’s taken 56 shots on goal over the last 40 games, but has nothing to show for. His numbers are uglier than the Sabres’ yellow jerseys.
Once a slump hits this kind of proportion, it’s tough to break out of, but to not score for 40 games when you’ve proved you can score 30 per year…that’s embarrassing. Moulson is making $5M for this season and the three after.
How much longer can this go on for, and when do you think he breaks the scoring slump?