Photo: Sergei Belski – USA TODAY Sports
Ugh. Please don’t.
According to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, the Toronto Maple Leafs could be calling on two of the bigger names in this year’s free agency class.
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) July 1, 2015
Ok, three things we need to discuss here.
First is that all the above tweet says is that Kypreos expects the Leafs to be interested in Michael Frolik and Matt Beleskey, not that they will definitely make competitive offers for them. That’s good news.
Second, Matt Beleskey is an awful fit for the Toronto. As the “top” free agent this offseason, the 27-year old will be paid handsomely for his services – think at least $5M with at least a five year term. The problem is, Beleskey’s services are not nearly that good. This past season, playing on an excellent Anaheim Ducks team, Belesky exploded for a career high… 32 points in 65 games? That’s not worth 5×5, even if 22 of those points were goals. There’s no reason to believe that at this point in his career Belesky can steadily or dramatically improve on those numbers either. Why bring in a player like that when you’ve already got players like Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, and Joffrey Lupul kicking around? You can’t pay Beleskey that much money to lineup behind those guys.
Lastly, I’d say that Michael Frolik is the far lesser of two evils here. I’m still not exactly excited at the prospect of spending big money on free agents – this team is not going anywhere anytime soon – but Frolik has his uses. Also 27-years old, Frolik is a positive possession player and can play down the middle. He puts up more points than Beleskey does on a regular basis and, most importantly, probably won’t cost as much. When Frolik is in his early 30s and the Leafs are ready to compete and contend, I see him being able to help this team, whereas I feel as if Beleskey and his contract will hold Toronto back. That said, the minute Frolik starts asking for anything close to $5M a year, I’m walking away.
I’d stay away from both of these guys, really. The Leafs are better off filling out their roster with low-risk, high upside bargain bin deals. I’d much rather see Toronto take a chance on the Cody Hodgson’s of the world before committing big money and term to the likes of Beleskey and Frolik. I’d even include Alex Semin on my list of preferred free agent targets before these two.