Matt Beleskey was on a roll this past season and has continued to shoot the lights out in the playoffs, leading many to believe he’s getting a boatload of cash as a free agent come July. That may be true, but the Leafs can’t even be in the conversation, and need to let another team make that mistake.
This isn’t a case of “buyer beware”, this is strictly buyer avoid.
Yesterday Sportsnet’s Doug MacLean stirred up a little news by suggesting Beleskey is the type of player the Leafs need. It’s almost as if he tuned out the Clarkson debacle completely. Thankfully the rest of us haven’t.
“He’s a guy to pursue in the off-season,” MacLean told Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Dean Blundell . “He’s had a great year, he’s a battler, he’s a physical presence.”
MacLean says a do-it-all forward like Beleskey could warrant a deal in the range of $3 to 5 million.
Jeff O’Neill doubled down on this terrible idea on TSN Radio by suggesting Beleskey is a good player to have in Toronto, because he’s a guy “who will punch you in the face and score 25 goals, and that’s what I want.”
Funny thing is, Beleskey hasn’t had a 25-goal season in his life. But who cares right? Let’s get him into Toronto as soon as possible. Toss a mullet on him and post it over the cover of the Toronto Sun while we’re at it, since the egg on their face can’t be big enough already.
Beleskey is a career 9.9% shooter who enjoyed a spike to 15.2% this past season, resulting in a 22-goal output. He’s going on 27 years old and has averaged only 12:39 per-game in ice time over his NHL career. His stat-lines are actually less-impressive than Clarkson’s.
This is a 28-point player based on career averages and he isn’t young. Some folks have suggested a 3-million dollar deal for Beleskey is intriguing while 5-million might be too much, but even the former with term would be a poor move. He probably will get paid, and no doubt he should be taking advantage of this hot streak, but it can’t be the Leafs to fall into that trap.
Luckily for us, they won’t.
There’s simply nothing to suggest this management group would make the same errors as the guy they canned just last month. Even if they were in “win now” mode, which they aren’t in the slightest, it would still be difficult to imagine them plunking down cash on a guy they can clearly see is riding percentages. It’s especially unlikely given where they are rebuild-wise.