Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Isles & Moulson Avoid Arbitration - Barely

I don't know why it had to go down to the wire. I'm not sure what transpired that required all parties to actually have to travel to Toronto to get a deal done with 26-year-old Matt Moulson and the team that took a chance on him. I wish I did.

It wasn't a matter of the Isles having to court Matt. He has said since the season ended; he wanted to stay. There was no doubt on his part. Sure, he had moved out of Doug Weight's pool house leaving his roommate behind. And yes, he was in the stressful process of planning a wedding and buying a house. Unlike 19 year-old Tavares, Matt is an adult. He was looking for security for himself and his new bride.

On more than one occasion Matt would tell the media his hopes of getting a new deal done before his July wedding. During the media portion of the June 25th Draft Party, he went so far as to invoke my power of nudginess on the man in charge on his behalf. I did -- regularly. I was surprised that my email addresses weren't marked as SPAM by the Islanders network.

It was never a question of whether or not the Islanders wanted to maintain the services of Matt Moulson, but it seemed the issue may have been duration and salary. Moulson came to the Islanders not knowing where he would land. Every day he would have to impress Scott Gordon in order to stay on the Isles roster and not be put on the ferry to Bridgeport. Every day, he knew he had to earn his place. Every day -- he did. And he did it for $575,000 for the season.

Perhaps I jinxed him when I told him I had made a bet he would get 20 goals by January 1st. Some people didn't think he'd get 20 goals at all. But I knew he would. Then he made it to 25. Then he ended with 30. The 30 NHL goal season was far sweeter than the ONE goal in 7 NHL games the season before.

Was this karmic retribution for two clubs that didn't see enough potential in Moulson? Was it simply Matt playing over his head in order to show the LA Kings they made a mistake?

Whatever the reason, God-given talent or cosmic intervention; Matt Moulson became an important part of the Islanders locker room last season and the Cinderella story of Uniondale.

So I wonder -- Did his agent advise him that if he took a longer term deal, he may miss out on a bigger payday next season when he is 27 and a UFA? Was he looking for a jump from league minimum to something astronomical? I don't know.

I do know that $2.54 million is quite a jump from $575,000, even if you take into account player escrow and taxes, that is one hell of a pay raise.

Moulson was quoted by Newsday's Katie Strang as saying he was nervous in the hallway, but that everything ended up for the best. Personally, I would have been happier if he was inked to a 3-year-deal, but I'll take another year of #MightyMattMoulson wearing #26 and we'll go from there.

Welcome back Matt. Put on your skates and stay awhile. I've got those Macadamia nut cookies for you.

1 comment:

Travelchic59 said...

I am disappointed the new Moulson deal is for 1 year also. I would have liked 2 at least. Hopefully, he proves he's worth the extra year and Garth rewards him handsomely. He was a great story for the Isles this past season and I wish him much continued success in an Isles Jersey. I also consider him part of our youth core and want him to stick around for a few years.