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Moulson's Injury Allows Cooke to be Re-inserted into Line-up

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

The trade deadline deal that brought in Matt Moulson from the Buffalo Sabres was a message to the team. Chuck Fletcher knew that the Wild had to muster up some goal scoring into and for the playoffs. The three-time 30-goal scorer was traded from the Islanders to Buffalo for Tomas Vanek, and was never expected to re-sign in Buffalo. Moulson was made available on trade deadline day to the Wild for Torrey Mitchell, a 2014 2nd round pick, and a 2016 second round pick.

Moulson played 20 games down the stretch for the Wild netting six goals and seven assists. He scored his lone goal of the playoffs in the Game 5 overtime loss to the Avalanche.

"You can't let yourself get frustrated. You have to play your game and for me that's getting around the net and putting in those dirty goals, so you just have to tell yourself to keep working and raise it up another level," Moulson said.

Now Moulson will be removed from the line-up for Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals with what is being classified as a "lower-body injury." "He's been battling this here for a little bit," Mike Yeo said. "So hopefully we can use this as an opportunity to get him back."

This news comes rather conveniently timed as Matt Cooke is set to return from his seven game suspension. In order for Cooke to get back into the line-up a player must be removed, and why not remove the struggling Moulson?

Some people have thought the timing of the news of Moulson's injury peculiar too. Radio personalities have speculated that they came up with a fake injury in order to avoid the fan upheaval that would ensue after trading for him at the deadline and then scratching him. While others wonder about the injury and how long it has affected him.

Moulson was demoted from the second line in which he skated along side players like Mikko Koivu, Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, and Jason Pominville, to the third line. His ice time has diminished from 17 minutes in Game 5 to just nine minutes in Game 3.

What ever the reason for why he is out of the line-up, he clearly wasn't productive and something needed to be done. But if you're someone that wants to question the trade now in hindsight, it's revisionist history at this point. I would assume that Fletcher would make the trade for Moulson again in the position he was in and what Moulson represented for his club. It was up to Matt to make the most of his time in the playoffs. If he is really injured, and the Wild are able to extend to series or somehow advance, his net presence and goal scoring ability will be needed.