Matt Moulson will play in his 25th game in a Buffalo Sabres sweater on Friday.
He has no idea how many more times he will suit up for the team he was traded to from the New York Islanders on Oct. 27, along with a first-round 2014 draft pick and a 2015 second-round selection in exchange for Thomas Vanek.
The 30-year-old Moulson is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. There have been no serious talks between his agent Wade Arnott and the Sabres on a contract extension and there likely won't be a decision on whether Buffalo moves the veteran sniper until closer to the March 5 trade deadline.
Moulson has enjoyed his time in Buffalo. He likes the fans. He likes the organization. He likes playing for new president of hockey operations Pat Lafontaine and interim coach Ted Nolan. He likes his leadership role with his young teammates. He likes the improvement he has witnessed.
The Sabres have gone 4-2-1 in their last seven games entering their road contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.
"Definitely, I think there is," answered Moulson, when asked if there is a chance he could sign a new deal to stay in Buffalo. "I don't know what they think of me. I love playing for Teddy.
"Like I said before, the organization has treated myself and my family incredibly well. The people of Buffalo are great fans and it has been a lot of fun growing with these guys. From where we were to where we want to be is obviously a process, but I think we've made some huge strides."
Because Moulson has enjoyed his two months in Buffalo, there always is the possibility he could be a short-term rental to a contender and then return to re-sign with the Sabres in the summer.
But wherever Moulson winds up, he will be well paid. There always is a market place in the NHL for goal scorers. They also are worth more. Plus, with the salary cap to increase next year and a shrinking list of unrestricted free agents, some of the high-end players will earn bigger contracts.
So if the likes of Valtteri Filppula ($5-million US a season), Derek Roy ($4-million), who signed last summer, and Alex Steen, who recently signed a team-friendly, three-year extension worth $5.8-million season, Moulson could be a $6-million-plus player.
Moulson a pure goal scorer
Since the start of the 2009-10 season, only 11 players have scored more goals than Moulson.
Moulson has talked to Lafontaine one-on-one. But he still doesn't have an inkling on what will transpire in the weeks to come.
"Whatever happens is out of my control," said Moulson, who has six goals and 15 points in 25 games.
"That's why I pay my agent Wade Arnott the big bucks."
Besides Moulson, here's a sample of some of the top players eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 1:
Goalies - Martin Brodeur (NJD), Brian Elliott (STL), Ray Emery (PHI), Thomas Greiss (PHX), Jonas Gustavsson (DET), Jaroslav Halak (STL), Jonas Hiller (ANA), Anton Khudobin (CAR), Ryan Miller (BUF), Tim Thomas (FLA).
Defence - Dan Boyle (SJS), Dan Girardi (NYR), Andrei Markov (MTL), Willie Mitchell (LAK), Brooks Orpik (PGH), Dion Phaneuf (TOR), Chris Phillips (OTT), Nick Schultz (EDM), Kimmo Timonen (PHI), Marek Zidlicky (NJD).
Forwards - Brad Boyes (FLA), Mike Cammalleri (CGY), Ales Hemsky (EDM), Marian Gaborik (CLB), Dany Heatley (MIN), Jarome Iginla (BOS), David Legwand (NSH), Patrick Marleau (SJS), Steve Ott (BUF), Dustin Penner (ANA), Derek Roy (STL), Matt Stajan (CGY), Paul Stastny (COL), Joe Thornton (SJS), Thomas Vanek (NYI).
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