In the discussion here of Matt Moulson's value before his arbitration hearing -- he signed this morning before the hearing for 1 year, $2.45 million -- it seems like everything was mentioned except the actual stats. But when you really look at what Moulson did this season it becomes tough to believe he'll be a one-hit wonder.
Looking at his shots, shooting percentage and time on ice you get a picture of someone that is going to be a competent long term player in the NHL. Break down each stat in comparison to not just other Islander players, but to other 30-goal scorers, and you start to see how Moulson did more with less.
First, his line combos: He played almost 20% of the time with Kyle Okposo and John Tavares, 14% with JT and Blake Comeau and 13% with Trent Hunter and Frans Nielsen. His top production was with KO and JT with 7 (even strength) points followed by Nielsen and Hunter for 5 (even strength) points out of a total of 33 even strength points. Both Hunter (4 5v5 Points) and Nielsen (4 5v5 Points) had their best even strength offensive output while paired with Moulson. Although Moulson spent more of his ice time paired up with JT and someone else, it's key that he created offensive chances when away from JT.Speaking of the JT/KO/MM line, I went through nhl.com's gamecenter and marked down the position of each of them when they scored a goal. Although my diagram is a little rough and doesn't correspond size wise to the gamecenter rink, it does give a general idea of where their goals came from. Click for full size:
Moulson definitely got his dirty goals right in front of the net, but he also got his fair share of goals from a distance. At 208 shots, Moulson was second on the team in shots. In front of him was Okposo with 249, behind him was Mark Streit at 187 and Tavares at 186. Of Streit, Okposo, Moulson and Tavares, Moulson had not only the lowest time on ice average by nearly 2 minutes but was also the only one to be under 20 shifts a game. Moulson had 19.8 shifts a game, while JT had 20.8, KO had 23.8 and Streit had 26.6. Among 30-goal scorers last year, only Nashville's Patric Hornqvist averaged both fewer shifts a game and less ice time a game.
When talking about Moulson the word "sniper" doesn't seem to come up very often. But among the 24 players who finished with 30 goals in 2009-10, Moulson was tied for 8th in shooting percentage. On the Islanders he led the team in shooting percentage. Only seven Islanders were above 10%, with two of them (Jeff Tambellini, Dylan Reese) having taken less then 100 shots. Moulson not only got a large number of quality shots on net, he got them from everywhere in the offensive zone.
The poster boy of one-year wonders (for me) is Chris Simon. Simon is the best example of why Adam Oates was such a good player. The big lug firmly planted himself in front of the net and had a career year tipping in beautiful Oates passes. Following his 29-goal (team leading) season in 1999-00, Simon never again got more then 15 goals in a season.
Last season Moulson was a feel good story about how JT's addition helped the Islanders give him a chance, and he proved himself. That somehow got twisted into the idea that Moulson wouldn't be productive away from JT. What's being missed is that Moulson showed he was a sniper with a nose for the net -- an offensive threat no matter who his linemates were.