For a player who’s been widely overlooked throughout his amateur and professional careers, the Lady Byng nomination brought some well-deserved attention to Islanders forward Matt Moulson.
In 2009, the Islanders gambled on a relatively unknown free agent, giving a one-year contract with the opportunity to play top-six minutes to an unproven, 26-year-old forward. A forward who’s 102 points in 2001-02 with the Guelph Dominators in Junior “B” earned him league Co-MVP honors, but didn’t land him on a major junior team; who led Cornell University in goals and points for three-straight seasons from 2003-2006, but wasn’t offered a contract by the team that drafted him 263rd overall in 2003; who posted three-straight 20-goal seasons with the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarch’s, but was only afforded seven NHL games during his final year in the LA Kings organization.
In three years with the Islanders, all that “unproven” forward has done is lead the club in goals, with 30, 31 and 36, respectively. There’s not been a more crucial player to the development of the club’s 2009 first-overall draft pick, John Tavares, and there’s been no better player off the ice than Moulson, winner of the 2012 Islanders Community Service Award and the media-based Good Guy Award.
The Islanders showed how highly they valued their top goal scorer, rewarding Moulson with a three-year contract extension midway through his second season with the club. Yet the Mississauga, ON, native still hasn’t skated in an NHL All-Star Game, nor was he invited to join Tavares on Team Canada at this summer’s World Championships in Finland and Sweden.
The 2012 NHL Awards Show brings together the NHL’s stars, and Moulson, though a first-timer, is no exception. His nomination alone provides a level of recognition that’s been sorely lacking from his still young career, and he’s brought along his wife, Alicia Moulson, his brother, Chris Moulson, and his brother-in-law Sean Backman to celebrate the occasion in Las Vegas.
For a player whose accomplishments have been so frequently passed over, who’s managed to fly under the radar despite striking stat totals, Wednesday night’s ceremony could signify whether the Islanders’ love affair with their first-line winger is shared league-wide, or whether Moulson is destined to remain the best-kept secret on Long Island… At least for another year.
Has anyone been to the “Favorites” section of nhl.com’s draft prospect profiles?
Let me save you the trouble.
Almost every single prospect’s favorite…
NHL Player: Crosby/Ovechkin. (Also recieving votes: Letang/Niedermayer for D-men, Bure/Kovalchuk/Datsyuk for Russians)
Video game: NHL12 and Call of Duty (Is there some sort of law prohibiting hockey players from buying other video games?).
Meal: Chicken and Pasta (The breakfast, lunch, brunch, pregame meal and postgame meal of the NHL).
Sports (other than hockey): Golf (also receiving votes: none).
Goal Celebration: From the classic “Two Hands Up” to the juvenile “Ride The Stick,” there’s really no right answer here. You either come off as flashy and gaudy or boring. How far up your draft board does a prospect jump if he says, “Goal celebration? How about you act like you’ve been there before?”
Shootout Move: “forehand to backhand,” “high glove” or “five hole” (really thrilling stuff here).
TV Show: Two and a Half Men/The Big Bang Theory (so that’s who watches those shows). (Also receiving votes: Family Guy, Entourage).
Website: Facebook/Youtube/Twitter (all lies… the real answers aren’t family-friendly enough for NHL.com).
Vacation: The Cottage (Canada’s national answer).
Let’s honor those prospects who’s answers actually stood out, for better or worse.
Video game: Jacob Trouba - Super Monkey Ball (You just climbed to the top of my draft chart, Jacob).
Book: Olli Matta - The English Dictionary (Like, cover-to-cover? I’ve always been a Thesaurus guy).
Meal: Radek Faksa - Pork dumplings and cabbage (Nothing gets me going for a game like the smell of steamed cabbage).
Movie: Mikhail Grigorenko - The Notebook (Someone tell Mikhail that once he’s in the NHL, he won’t have to sit through chick flicks to get girls to like him).