When it comes to the New York Islanders, the first player most people know about is John Tavares. After that, maybe they’ve heard about the team’s goaltending debacle and are familiar with the inconsistent play of Evgeni Nabokov and the struggles of Rick DiPietro, but there’s more to this team than those three – winger Matt Moulson continues to be one of the team’s best and most dependable players, despite not getting much attention for it.
Tavares leads the Islanders with 13 goals an 25 points, but Moulson is right behind him with 10 goals and 23 points. Now in his fourth year with the Islanders, not only is Moulson’s offensive performance getting better with each season but the team can count on him taking the ice night in and night out as well – his current streak of 266 consecutive games played is the third-longest in Islanders history.
Moulson was originally a Pittsburgh Penguins ninth round pick in 2003, and it was quite a journey for him to get where he is today. He played four years of college hockey with Cornell University, then signed with the Los Angeles Kings as a free agent.
He proved to be a more than capable scorer at the AHL level with the Manchester Monarchs, but was unable to contribute much in 29 NHL games with the Kings.
Moulson signed a one-year deal with the Islanders in 2009 and a one-year extension in 2010. In January of 2011, the team made one of the best moves in recent years when they signed him to a three-year, $9.45 million extension, and the value he continues to bring to the team makes him a steal at that price.
In his first year with the Islanders Moulson scored 30 goals and reached 48 points. He surpassed those numbers during the 2010-11 season (31 goals, 53 points) and again last season (36 goals, 69 points).
The Islanders need their players healthy if they hope to contend in this shortened season, and they can rest easy knowing not only will Moulson be on the ice every night but there’s a good chance he’s contributing offensively as well.