Currently playing with youngsters Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher during intra-squad games, Moen looks disinterested and slow, trying to keep up with the speed of the Gallys.
Currently playing the third year of a four-year pact that pays him annually $1.850.000, Moen has been struggling on both ends of the ice since the beginning of the 2012-13 season, during which he played almost every game of the lockout-shortened season, but managed to record a mere 2 goals and 4 assists for 6 points to go with only 32 penalty minutes and a -4 rating. That year, Moen often found himself playing on the team's second line with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta,
Last season, Moen's season was forced to miss 17 games after sustaining facial fractures in late October and a concussion in late March after a fight with defenseman Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins. In 65 games, the gritty 6'2'', 218-lb, forward managed to pot only 2 goals and 10 assists for 12 points and 49 penalty minutes. As a result of the concussion and his poor overall play, Moen dressed for only five games during the Habs' playoff run that ended in the Eastern Conference final against the New York Rangers.
Previously known for his physical play, Moen only distributed 92 hits last year, compared to 82 in 20 less games during the lockout-shortened season. Add this drop to his lack of pugilistic talent and his diminished offensive skills and you get a 32-year-old player who is becoming less and less important for the Canadiens, especially with the arrival of dynamic winger Dale Weise who plays a similar style of play but with a much better offensive flair and smooth-skating abilities.
The arrival of penalty killing specialist, Manny Malhotra, will also affect Moen's ice time as the team will be able to play him on the second PK unit behind Tomas Plekanec. Also, if the scrimmage combinations are any indication, Malhotra is currently paired with Weise and gritty pest Brandon Prust on the team's fourth line.
Factor in the presence of Michael Bournival who is having a great training camp so far and the emergence of youngsters such as Jiri Sekac and Sven Andrighetto and you can easily imagine Moen spending a few nights in the press box.
Moreover, now that Moen's no-trade clause has expired, Marc Bergevin can now trade him to whichever team he wants looking for veteran leadership and a physical body. However, the likely scenario for this season is too see Moen act as the team's 13th forward and dress against bigger and nastier teams while Michael Bournival plays against faster and softer teams. This way, it would allow Michel Therrien to dress 12 regular forwards, including rookie Jiri Sekac, who is expected to make the team out of training camp.
Finally, we know that every team sustains multiple injuries during the season so a veteran like Moen is always nice to have around in case the Habs suffer injuries to key players and are forced to juggle lines and call-up rookies from their AHL affiliate.
What would you do with Moen?
1. Keep him and play him regularly.
2. Use him as an extra forward and play him sporadically.
3. Bury him in the minors.
4. Trade him for the best offer, whether it's a good draft pick or a bucket of pucks.
No Foolin' Fred Poulin