Sabres' Matt Moulson likely out until after Olympic break

Matt Moulson will likely be out until after the Olympic break. (USATSI)
Matt Moulson will likely be out until after the Olympic break with an upper-body injury. (USATSI)

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Matt Moulson suffered an upper-body injury in the Buffalo Sabres’ win over the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday night. According to Sabres head coach Ted Nolan, it looks like Moulson will be out until after the Olympic break, which begins Feb. 9 and runs through Feb. 24.

The high-scoring forward left Thursday night’s tilt after a slash or cross-check to his arm and did not return.

This is bad news for the Sabres in a number of ways. For one, Moulson is one of the better offensive players on an offensively-challenged team. Secondly, and probably more importantly, he is viewed as a key trade piece if the team isn’t confident they’ll be able to re-sign him as an unrestricted free agent.

The Olympic break gives the Sabres some time for Moulson to heal and time for the team to make a decision. The official NHL trade deadline comes only eight days after the Olympics ends.

With the Sabres trying to rebuild, this is pretty bad timing if this ends up being anything serious. It’s always tough to deal an injured player, but one would expect teams may be willing to talk still if they have assurances Moulson can play at some point after the Olympics. The market could be a bit softened, though.

There’s also the possibility of hanging on to him and hoping he signs on to be part of the rebuild, but that’s far from a sure thing.

The Sabres acquired Moulson earlier this year in a blockbuster deal that sent Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders. Since coming over in the deal, Moulson has nine goals for the Sabres.

The three-time 30-goal scorer has 15 goals and 33 points so far this year. A lot of contending teams looking for goal-scoring help should be interested if he can return to health in a timely manner.

CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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