Matt Moulson says he enjoyed his time on Long Island and was extremely close to his teammates.
Just don’t expect those feelings to factor into a potential move back to the Islanders.
Moulson, set to become a UFA at season’s end, didn’t sound very keen on the idea of re-joining the club he made his mark as a NHLer with.
“It’s been said that I wasn’t in the future plans, so I don’t think that will quickly change,” he explained, per NHL.com. “I’m just going to concentrate on helping Minnesota to win right now.”
Moulson, 30, spent five years in New York and developed into a quality trigger man alongside John Tavares, scoring 30 goals three times (including a career-high 36 in 2011-12). Signed to a modest three-year, $9.4 million deal in ’11, Moulson has been of the league’s better value signings and could be primed to cash in this summer, which is part of the reason why the Isles dealt him to Buffalo as part of the Thomas Vanek trade.
Reunion-type conversations are the rage right now — similar questions have been asked of Ryan Callahan about a possible return to the Rangers — so it’s not surprising that Moulson’s having them. But, based on his responses to the queries, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be back in the blue, orange and white.
“At the time, I thought I’d be here for the rest of my career,” he said. “We never had discussions about any future plans or anything.
“That kind of caught me off guard.”
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.