In a surprise move, former Buffalo Sabres forward Matt Moulson is heading to California. On Tuesday the team announced that Moulson, who cleared waivers earlier in the day, would not report to Rochester but to Ontario, California to play for the Ontario Reign of the AHL.
”Matt has been a true professional, especially during this difficult decision,” Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill said. “Matt has previously spent time within the Kings organization early in his career and we felt this would be the best opportunity for him. From an organizational standpoint, we felt that with our young forwards in place in Rochester, we did not want to take away from their development and ice time by adding another veteran player at this time.”
Moulson, 34, appeared in 14 games with the Sabres this season, failing to register a point. In 2014-2015, Moulson signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Sabres. Moulson is set to become an unrestricted free-agent after the 2018-2019 season.
Well we didn't see that coming, did we? It's important to clarify, Moulson is still the Sabres property. For perspective, we saw something similar happen last year when the Sabres loaned Cal O'Reilly to the Toronto Marlies.
Botterill likely reached out to the Los Angeles Kings organization to see if they would be willing to let Moulson play for the Reign. According to LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen, Moulson has family ties to the area, making it a more appealing destination for the veteran forward. It is unclear whether or not this was something Moulson asked for or if this was an idea from the Sabres.
Matt Moulson will join the Ontario Reign on a loan. Not LAK property. Still BUF. Believe LAK doing a solid here; obviously family ties in the area.
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) December 5, 2017
That said, this aforementioned quote is pretty startling:
"From an organizational standpoint, we felt that with our young forwards in place in Rochester, we did not want to take away from their development and ice time by adding another veteran player at this time.”
To me, this shows that Botterill is happy with how things are going in Rochester right now. It has been a rough few days for Moulson and perhaps the move to California will make thing easier for both him and his family. At this point in his career, that's likely his biggest focus, especially after having plenty of success in the NHL.
Housley told us the Botterill and Moulson's agent are working on options.
— Paul Hamilton (@pham1717) December 5, 2017