After reading Matt Moulson’s name misspelled twice in a newspaper article earlier this week, one of his Islanders teammates threw a playful jab his way.
“Think you’ve made it?” Jeff Tambellini asked. “Not yet, buddy. You’ve got to score 30 goals before they get your name right.”
All joking aside, Moulson can now walk into the Staples Center knowing he has made it. Although the 26-year-old failed to latch on with the Kings the previous three seasons, he has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts on the opposite coast with the New York Islanders.
For virtually the entire season Moulson has spearheaded the Islanders offense. Heading into last night’s game against the Kings, Moulson led the team with 26 goals. So you can bet he'll get some satisfaction of holding that title when facing his former team Saturday.
“Probably everyone has that feeling when someone doesn’t want you or when you move on from somewhere—to show them I’m doing well. It could’ve been there, but fortunately, it’s with the Islanders instead,” Moulson said.
Before his breakout season with the Islanders, Moulson spent the previous three pin-balling within the Kings organization. While he appeared in 29 games for the Kings the past two seasons, he spent the bulk of his time with the Manchester Monarchs.
And although he made the Kings team after a successful training camp last September, he stuck for only seven games. With only one goal, he was demoted back to the minors and told by Kings GM Dean Lombardi he was “complacent.”
According to Islanders head coach Scott Gordon, Moulson has been anything but.
“After training camp, I told him he made the team but that he’d have to treat every day like his last day here,” Gordon said. “The thing Matt’s done a really good job of is coming to play every single night. He hasn’t changed with his success.”
Moulson’s talent may have led him to his initial success, but it has been his unrelenting desire and work ethic that has allowed him to sustain such production.
“I think he just believed in himself and had to find the right situation,” Gordon said. “Matt doesn’t look for excuses. The way he’s performed this year-- not just in games but in practice- he’s given his best effort every single day.”
For someone like Moulson—cut from junior teams and later labeled a “career minor-leaguer’’—some of that doubt and skepticism has been healthy.
Go ahead and spell his name “Matt Coulson”
It reminds him of how far he’s come, and what it has taken to get there.
“Even a little thing like that—I’ve kind of got something to prove every single night. Maybe a lot of people think it was a fluke. I'm just going to continue to work hard and continue to get better but there will probably be doubts the rest of my career.”