Player Name/position: Matt Beleskey, LW
Overall Grade: B-
Contract Status: RFA this summer, $737,500 Cap Hit, $850,000 Salary in 2013
2013 Stats: 8 goals, 5 assists, 13 points; 42 games played. 12:00 avg. TOI/game
Playoff Stats: 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points (that would be 1 more point than Corey Perry); 7 games played. 11:01 avg. TOI/game
Offense: Looking at the season for Matt Beleskey as a whole, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he exceeded expectations. This is probably because after last season - I didn't expect much. Beleskey has often been the victim of unfortunate injuries in the past, so it was nice to see him with an overall healthy season of contribution. However, if there is a downside to the offensive output from Beleskey it would come in the form of the lack of consistency; both in his own play and the constant line shuffling at the hands of Coach Boudreau (which, yes, might be due to his inconsistent efforts). Beleskey's problem might just be that he's one of the few true left wingers the Ducks have, but he's not necessarily the guy you want playing alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf every night. Can we say...time for some accuracy practice? Even so, Beleskey as a third or fourth line work horse isn't such a terrible option for this Ducks roster, and if we're looking at him as a bottom six forward, he contributed just as I expected from him and maybe a bit more. There was a lull in his production mid-way through the year, but I don't know if I can complain about his 13 points in a shortened season when he only had 15 in 70 games the year before.
Defense: There's a lot to be said about those players on the Ducks roster who create havoc and are natural pests for the opposition and Beleskey is one of those guys. I wouldn't say that I consider him to be a defensive liability, but he's not necessarily the guy I want on the ice against an opponents best trio. This poses a problem in putting him on the top line with Perry and Getzlaf. On the flip side, if you're looking for that rough and tough guy to lead you into a physical battle, Beleskey is your guy. Having racked up 103 hits during the regular season, most on the team, he also led the Ducks in hits in the playoffs with 26. He might not be the guy you want defending the puck, but if you're looking for a bruiser, Beleskey is your man.
Highlight of the Season: While Beleskey isn't necessarily the greatest fighter, he did take an opportunity to send a few punches towards Jordan Tootoo, and I'm totally okay with that.
Expectations for Next Year: Beleskey just played in his "contract" year. True, he's a restricted free agent, so the Ducks have dibs, but what you have seen is what you're going to get. He's a physical guy who's willing to toss the gloves and you're going to get a few goals from him over the course of the season. He's going to fill the holes in your line-up, but the jury is still out on where he "fits" in the long term.
I don't think the Ducks are going to give up on Beleskey just yet. He's still going to come in at a good deal for the team and he makes for a great bottom six forward with some positive upside from time to time. A young guy with physicality and the occasional goal is what every team is looking for and the Ducks are lucky to have that in Beleskey.