Why the Ducks should let Matt Beleskey become an UFA

matt beleskey trade rumors

Matt Beleskey was a critical part of the Anaheim Ducks regular season (22G, 10A)  and helped ignite the offense in the playoffs (8G, 1A). In the coming days, Bob Murray, the Ducks GM, faces a tough decision. Do the Ducks pay up for their goal-scoring winger coming off of a career year or do they try and find production in house or elsewhere on the free agent market? Beleskey is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, and will likely demand a hefty contract in the range of four years at an AAV of ~4M per, a price perhaps too hefty for Bob Murray to pay.

The main reason the Ducks should part ways with Beleskey is the fact that they have several contracts coming up that need to be taken care of. Jakob Silfverberg, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen are all key organizational players that will demand pay raises in the near future. Beleskey is said to be seeking upwards of ~4M and 4 years minimum. If the Ducks were to sign Beleskey, they would potentially have a hard time resigning the young talent that will be seeking new deals.

Another reason that should make GM Bob Murray skeptical is the fact that Beleskey has a career PPG of 0.34. That is bad. David Clarkson, for reference, has a 0.36. What can you infer from this, you ask? Well, Clarkson got a big deal after coming off a similar season in that of Beleskey. After two-thirds of a season he was traded by Toronto for a player that will likely never hit the ice again. The Clarkson-factor could be in effect and it appears that the Leafs, who are ironically one of the teams linked to Beleskey were he to become a free agent, have not quite learned their lesson were they to bite.

How do the Ducks replace Beleskey’s production? It won’t be easy, but they have options. They could turn to 2014 first round pick Nick Ritchie, who had a fine season with the Greyhounds in the OHL. Re-signing Tomas Fleishmann might also be a fit and they could also be a suitor for Sean Bergenheim who seems to be an under looked UFA.

The options are out there. Will they replace the production of Beleskey? Unlikely. Will they help Anaheim maintain their position as a power in the Pacific? Absolutely. The Ducks will be a playoff team with or without Beleskey.