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Numbers Game: Wild acquire Moulson from Sabres

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Scott Cullen
3/5/2014 5:48:16 PM
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The Buffalo Sabres continued to move assets for picks and the Minnesota Wild added a bona fide scoring winger to help their playoff push.

Numbers Game looks into the Wild getting Matt Moulson from Buffalo.

The Wild Get: LW Matt Moulson and LW Cody McCormick.

Moulson, 30, has been a productive scoring winger throughout much of his career with the New York Islanders and, to a lesser degree, this season with the Buffalo Sabres, scoring 129 goals since the start of the 2009-2010 season, ranking 16th in the league over that span.

He gives the Wild better complementary scoring, figuring to slot in on the second line behind Zach Parise on the left wing depth chart, perhaps with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle, and giving Minnesota a nice offensive upgrade and while Moulson may not play as prominent a role as he did in Buffalo and New York, he could benefit from more favourable matchups as a result.

Moulson, who comes at a cap hit of $3.133-million per season, will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer, so he could end up being little more than a rental, which is fine because the price paid isn't too steep.

McCormick is a tough 30-year-old forward who hasn't been able to hold down a regular spot in the lineup, yet comes at a cap hit of $1.2-million (on a deal that expires this summer). He offers some depth if the Wild feel a need for fourth line toughness, but he could just as easily be a spare part.

The Sabres Get: RW Torrey Mitchell and second-round picks in 2014 and 2016.

Mitchell, 29, hasn't been able to live up to his contract in Minnesota, playing a little over 10 minutes per game while he's signed for a cap hit of $1.9-million per season, including a salary of $2.5-million next season.

Mitchell has been crushed in possession terms, but he's also been asked to play difficult minutes, starting 34.6% of his shifts in the offensive zone. Going to Buffalo, it would be reasonable to expect Mitchell to take on a more significant role as a checking forward, playing more minutes and quite possibly handling tougher matchups defensively.

Part of the reason that it's possible to expect Mitchell to get a better opportunity is that his contract is a tad pricey for a fourth-liner but, like most of the forwards on the Sabres roster, Mitchell gets to use the rest of the season help establish expectations for next season.

The Sabres get two more second-round picks to add to their deep pool of accumulated picks. The 2014 pick comes from Minnesota while the 2016 pick is via Winnipeg. A pair of second-round picks offer better than a 50% chance of netting an NHL player.

It was no surprise that the Sabres would be moving Moulson and while Buffalo took on some salary in the deal, they added more draft picks, helping to offset the couple of second-round picks that they had included in their earlier trade with the Los Angeles Kings.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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