Pegged by many as a movable asset for the Sabres at the trade deadline, Matt Moulson might end up staying in Buffalo beyond Mar. 5.
“Definitely, I think there is,” Moulson told CBC when asked about the possibility of re-signing in Buffalo. “I don’t know what they think of me. I love playing for Teddy [Nolan].”
Acquired from the Islanders in late October for as part of the Thomas Vanek deal, Moulson has performed well for the Sabres, scoring six goals and 15 points in 24 games.
(Comparatively, Vanek has nine goals and 17 points in 22 contests.)
When the trade first broke, Moulson — a UFA at season’s end — looked like he’d be on the move soon again. The Sabres were losing, the youth movement was underway and it seemed like a full-scale rebuild was on, hardly the kind of situation 30-year-old free agent longs to be in.
But, things changed.
The Sabres turfed Ron Rolston and Darcy Regier, hired Nolan and Pat LaFontaine, sent a crop of youngsters back to the AHL/Juniors and, over the last two weeks, actually started playing some good hockey — Buffalo is 4-4-2 in its last 10, pulling off impressive victories over the likes of Boston and Phoenix.
“From where we were to where we want to be is obviously a process,” Moulson explained. “But I think we’ve made some huge strides.”
Moulson — in the last of a three-year, $9.4 million deal — isn’t the only key veteran UFA Buffalo has to deal with. Goalie Ryan Miller is still twisting in the wind, and has remained noncommittal about his future.
“I think they’re trying to figure out guys they want to hang on to and they think they can build a core around,” Miller said, per the Buffalo News. “We’ll see how it goes.”
Wherever Miller ends up signing, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be doing it for cheap. Not after Henrik Lundqvist got a seven-year, $59.5 million extension with the Rangers, a deal that Miller feels “sets the standards” for goalies.
At 33 years old, the next contract Miller signs figures to be his last big one. If it’s going to be with the Sabres, he wants more than promises that the team will be back out of the NHL’s basement soon.
“I’ve heard a lot of talk over my time,” he said “It’s about actions at this point. I’m not going to sit around and let promises get thrown around.”