Fantasy Impact: The New York Islanders have traded Matt Moulson, a first round pick in 2014 and a second round pick in 2015 to the Buffalo Sabres for Tomas Vanek.
The Sabres get: an underrated pure goal scorer who rarely misses time from injury, as well as two fantastic draft picks. After three consecutive seasons of 30-plus goals, Moulson slipped a little last year with a pro-rated 26 goals – but his assists skyrocketed and his point total was a career best 0.94. As good as Moulson is, there are some camps who feel that John Tavares was the reason for the success. They’re probably right.
The Islanders get: a pure goal scorer who reached the 40-goal mark twice (and, pro-rated, did it a third time last season) while playing with linemates who are not up to the Tavares level.
Both players are in the final year of a contract and either could become unrestricted free agents in the summer.
Fantasy Players Impacted: Since the deal involves only two players who play the same position and the same role, the rest of the team is unaffected. Cody Hodgson will play with Moulson instead of Vanek, while Tavares plays with Vanek instead of Moulson. So the main players impacted are the components of the deal.
Without Tavares, Moulson is still a solid goal scorer. But not (career high) 36 goals. Not even 30 goals. Still, with top-line billing and ice time, he’s still pretty safe for 20 and possibly even 25. Where he signs in the offseason will determine how well he does in the future. He needs a quality center and he has proven to be a very capable – even elite – complimentary player. Of the 223 points that he tallied with the Islanders, 196 of them were earned while Tavares was on the ice with him.
Meanwhile, Vanek’s dream just came true. If there is chemistry between he and Tavares – and that’s no guarantee, let’s not get ahead of ourselves – then 50 goals could happen. And if Vanek gets 50 goals, J.T. is topping 100 points. Those two stats would go hand in hand.