James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Moulson Brews Strong Debut

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Over the long haul, being a good fantasy owner often comes down to sniffing out lucky starts and hot streaks versus signs of an actual, more permanent breakthrough.

 

With that in mind, it’s easy to get carried away with the kind of two-goal debut Matt Moulson had with the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. Here’s the thing, though: it’s also the kind of thing that makes hockey/sports more fun - both in fantasy and reality.

 

It’s probably an exaggeration to say that “all” eyes were on Moulson last night. This wasn’t a playoff game. It wasn’t on national television. His new lowly team allowed the Dallas Stars to climb back to .500 at 5-5-1 by the end of the night.

 

Still, when it comes to silencing his critics, Moulson did a great job for at least one evening. It’s comically early to say that his almost-storybook start proves that he can indeed produce without John Tavares, yet it’s awfully captivating stuff.

 

So let’s break down Moulson’s night, his linemates and even his career to get a better idea of the Sabres’ new No. 26.

 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $3,000 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Tuesday). It's just $10 to join and first prize is $600. Starts at 7pm ET. Here's the link.

 

For everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News and follow @Rotoworld_ HK+@cyclelikesedins on Twitter.

 

Oh, and there’s still plenty of time to join a Yahoo! Hockey Pool, so get on that.

 

MOULSON’S GAME

 

No doubt about it, Moulson’s first game with Buffalo was great. The best part, for me, was that he provided a taste of the two very different kind of goals he tends to score: pretty, highlight reel-types and dirty, “in the trenches” tallies.

 

There was certainly some luck involved for the 29-year-old, as he found the net right away on his first SOG. Still, the peripherals weren’t half-bad, as he collected four SOG and two takeaways on Monday.

 

The TOI dispersal falls in line with his Islanders work: 19:48 total, with 3:04 on the power play.

 

Overall, good stuff.

 

MOULSON’S CAREER

 

Here’s a breakdown of Moulson’s production since he joined the Islanders (and also this season so far):

 

2013-14: 8 goals, three assists, 11 points in 12 GP; 32 SOG, nine blocked shots (four hits), 17:49 TOI.

Power-play: five PPG, 2 PPA, 7 PPP

No GWG yet

Home/Road Points: 10 at home, 1 on road

 

2012-13: 15 G, 29 A, 44 P in 47 GP; 154 SOG, 28 BS (24 hits), 19:09 TOI

Power-play: 8 PPG, 7 PPA, 15 PPP

No GWG

Home/Road Points: 23 at home, 21 on road

 

2011-12: 36 G, 33 A, 69 P in 82 GP; 219 SOG, 40 BS (33 hits), 19:18 TOI

Power-play: 14 PPG, 10 PPA, 24 PPP

5 GWG

Home/Road Points: 32 at home, 37 on road

 

2010-11: 31 G, 22 A, 53 P in 82 GP; 237 SOG, 48 BS (84 hits), 18:52 TOI

Power-play: 9 PPG, 6 PPA, 15 PPP

3 GWG

Home/Road Points: 34 at home, 19 on road

 

2009-10: 30 G, 18 A, 48 P in 82 GP; 208 SOG, 52 BS (113 hits), 16:38 TOI

Power-play: 8 PPG, 7 PPA, 15 PPP

5 GWG

Home/Road Points: 23 at home, 25 on road

 

A few quick takeaways:

 

-- PIM aren’t a big part of the Moulson package, with just 62 in 334 career GP. The most he generated was 24 in 2010-11.

-- As you may see, Moulson’s hits went down as his role (and assists) increased.

-- One other thing I didn’t really list was PP TOI: he’s generally averaged a healthy three per game.

-- GWG aren’t wildly predictable in the first place, but playing for the Sabres obviously won’t help matters.

 

HIS NEW LINEMATES

 

Let’s not belabor the John Tavares point too much just yet, OK? Sure, 118 of his 126 career goals came with the Islanders, but 304 of his 334 career games were in Long Island, anyway. Instead, let’s look at the guys he rolled with on Monday: Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis.

 

Hodgson (50 percent owned in Yahoo) - Hodgson and Thomas Vanek were basically the Sabres offense early this season, so it stands to reason that will continue (only with Moulson replacing Vanek) for at least a while.

 

He has 10 points (including an assist last night) in 14 games so far this season and did well with an enhanced role with Buffalo last season, scoring 34 points in 48 contests.

 

The solid center is doing OK SOG-wise (34 in 14 GP), but like Moulson, doesn't really have PIMs going for him. The TOI is there, as he's averaging 19:27 overall and 3:28 per game.

 

Overall, Hodgson isn't a must-have, but he should be solid. That's especially true in deeper leagues.

 

Tyler Ennis (39 percent) - The Sabres’ smallish winger (no longer the “other” smaller Sabres winger, as Nathan Gerbe bolted, although Gerbe was probably the “other” one) looked pretty good on Monday, particularly when he cleverly faked a shot then sent a one-timer pass to Moulson for his first goal.

 

No doubt, this season so far hasn’t been great for Ennis; his two assists boosts his season totals from one point to three. Still, his history shows that he has some solid offensive potential (31 points in 47 games last season, 20 goals in 2010-11) and he sports a decent pedigree (26th overall in 2008).

 

One “advantage” Ennis has over Hodgson is that Ennis is in a contract year (he’ll be an RFA) while Hodgson is locked up through 2018-19. As you may know, Moulson is also playing for a new contract, and he’s a pending UFA.

 

Ultimately, I’d say that Hodgson is (and has been) worth adding in many formats while Ennis is at least worth monitoring.

 

After the jump: Game notes and more.

 


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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
Email :James O'Brien



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