61 GOALS NOT ENOUGH FOR MATT MOULSONBig scorer does not make the cut for Team Canada

You would think that after a pair of 30-goal seasons, Matt Moulson would be a lock to be courted to play at the World Championships – even for a national team as deep in talent as Moulson’s Canada.

It appears Moulson will have to continue to prove some hockey people wrong about him. Somehow, he didn’t make Team Canada’s final list of twelve forwards that will compete over the next few weeks in Europe. This, despite only one of the twelve chosen forwards (Rick Nash, 65) scoring more goals over the last two seasons than Moulson.

Point Blank reached out to a high-ranking Team Canada official, who graciously responded via email from Prague to our inquiry about Moulson’s candidacy. “Matt was definitely on our list and he was discussed, but he was not selected for our group of twelve forwards,” the official wrote.

Here are the twelve, as chosen by Canada GM Dave Nonis and assistants Rob Blake and Bob Murray: Nash, Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle, Evander Kane, Jeff Skinner, Jason Spezza, Chris Stewart, John Tavares, Antoine Vermette, Travis Zajac.

An impressive list, to be sure, although a few names jump out as players who have not accomplished at the NHL level the last two years what Moulson has with the Islanders. Team Canada is looking to add a forward this weekend from one of the teams eliminated from the first round of the playoffs. Meanwhile, one of the most accomplished out there doesn’t get the call. (A source close to Moulson told Point Blank, “Matt would have loved the opportunity.”)

In fairness to Team Canada, Nonis and his lieutenants are charged with fielding a complete roster that combines talent, grit and the ability to do “the little things.” In recent years, the organization has chosen to go young, which would explain the presence of super-skilled lads like Eberle and Kane. But Moulson is only 27 years old.

Moulson, from North York, Ontario, scored a combined 61 goals over the last two years. Among the chosen wings, the effectively-irritating Clutterbuck had 32, the well-respected Ladd had 46. The Canadian roster has seven centers, including Vermette (a combined 46 goals the last two seasons), the still-raw Kane (33) and the inconsistent Zajac (38). In exhibition games so far, Vermette and others are playing the wing.

“Like anything of this nature, the selection process can be a little political,” an NHL general manager told Point Blank. “I think it’s a decent roster and you can make a case for some of the iffy choices. (Head coach) Ken Hitchcock might be comfortable with Vermette, who he worked with in Columbus. But Moulson’s goal-scoring the last two years is pretty tough to ignore. He and Tavares could have stuck together at the Worlds and gone on a scoring spree. You know a kid like Moulson would have played his ass off to take advantage of the opportunity, while I’m not so sure about some of the veterans they picked.”

Moulson has come a long way, just apparently not far enough in the eyes of Team Canada. Is this a big deal? Not really. In the long run, it could be for the best. Moulson, who has not missed a game in his two years as an Islander, can retain his health instead of playing in a tournament of debatable importance. And he has been at his best when playing with a chip on his shoulder.

Also: Congratulations to Dwayne Roloson, Sean Bergenheim and Nate Thompson on their major contributions to Tampa Bay’s stirring seven-game victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And there’s our annual one-and-only story on the World Championships. Stay healthy, my friends. Comments on Matt Moulson and the Tampa Trio are encouraged.