Intrigue mounts surrounding Penguins potential interest in Matt Moulson

Moulson Penguins officials are not big fans of this years trade market when it comes to rental players but there is one player in particular that intrigues them.
Sources say amateur scouts with the organization were certain last season that GM Ray Shero would be putting high draft picks in play to bolster the roster but the message from upper management coming out of the Penguins amateur scouting meetings in Las Vegas was that with no second round pick this year, the team will be much less aggressive in putting a first round pick in play.
You never say never with win-now teams but the chances are slim that the Penguins show any willingness in moving a first rounder for a rental player.

I’ve held off on reporting it but information has been pretty consistent over the last couple weeks that Matt Moulson is believed to top the team’s wishlist when it comes to rental winger targets.
The Penguins certainly like him but the question is whether they like him enough to get into a bidding war. Multiple teams are chasing Moulson and the sense around the league is the Sabres can get a first for him and a pretty good prospect.
Last season when the Penguins chased their top targets in Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow, both veteran players had no trade clauses and wanted a chance to win.
Moulson doesn’t have a no trade clause and will in all likelihood go to the highest bidder.
While I don’t get the sense the Penguins like Moulson enough to put a first round pick in play but this is a situation where Simon Despres could become a pretty attractive trade piece here to a Sabres team that while loaded with draft picks and young prospects, are in the need of young impact NHL players now and Despres fit the bill as potentially becoming that player with regular time.
Like they do with all potential targets, one discussion about Moulson I’m told the Penguins have had internally is where he fits in the lineup as the Penguins need a right winger for Sidney Crosby and Moulson’s best fit is at left wing.
There appears to be a bit of concern that the team could have a Jarome Iginla situation on their hands with Moulson playing out of position were the Penguins to keep Jussi Jokinen at left wing with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.
Regardless of where he would fit, head coach Dan Bylsma would certainly endorse the acquisition of Moulson.
“I’ve known Matt for a long time since way back to when he was a 14 year old kid in Mississauga,” Bylsma said today. “I watch him pretty closely and also know he was a Pittsburgh Penguins draft [pick}. With the Islanders he really had a great niche on that {Tavares} line, power play, net front. You know not the best skater, but with Tavares and with that power play, he was as dangerous as a goal scorer, as a sidekick goal scorer, at least, we played against.”
“With the Sabres, I don’t think he’s had the same punch with out having a guy like Tavares there, hasn’t had the same fit, but he’s still a guy around the cage on the power play in that 10 foot area, he’s a gifted player, dangerous player,” Bylsma said. “One you fear when he’s there and one you’d liked to have on your team.”

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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