When Brandon Prust was signed, my first reaction was "We already have him for cheaper in Travis Moen", but this season has gone a long way to proving that assumption false. I'm sure you're familiar with the expression that a rising tide lifts all boats? Well for some reason this year, that hasn't really applied to Travis Moen.
Moen is playing nearly 4 fewer minutes per game, against weaker competition than last season, with tougher zone starts, while his raw possession numbers remain stagnant. Relative to his team, he's playing significantly worse than last season.
As you can see, Moen has been below team average significantly for most of the season, but he's still outperformed his zone starts. Normally that's a sign of success, but if Moen wasn't outperforming such low zone starts he'd probably be a career ECHLer. Even Nokelainen was able to that last year.
Perhaps the most worrying thing about Moen is that his scoring chance count is far, far worse than his linemates. Both Ryan White and Colby Armstrong showed an ability in the first half of the season to be low event players in tough zone starts. They couldn't outplay the competition regularly, but they could limit scoring chances against effectively. Moen has been giving up the 3rd most scoring chances against per 60 minutes on the the team, a hair behind Alex Galchenyuk, but Galchenyuk creates twice the offense, which compensates to give him a solid differential. Moen though, has the worst differential on the team.
While shorthanded, Moen has been almost the same as last year, even with the PK overall being much worse. Part of this has been his increased success rate (risk/reward) on the PK, up to 1.79 from last year's 0.72.
It's possible that Moen is just having a bad season, but at 30, with the role he's played in his career, there's a good chance that he's just been worn down. He's been the only regular roster player on the Canadiens this year who's been worse than last year, and he's signed to a rich contract for 3 more years. Bergevin should be looking to offload him if this trend continues next year.
Graded as a 4th line sacrificial left winger with PK ability, Moen isn't expected to have amazing possession numbers, but he's been outperformed by his linemates by a wide margin. Because of Moen's PK ability though, the lowest grade I can give him is below average, which should tell you how good the team has been.
First half grade: 6/10