Player Name/Position: Francois Beauchemin, D
Overall Grade: A-
Contract Status: 2 years left at a $3.5 million cap hit, and 3.55 and 3.65 in cash.
2013 Stats: 48 GP, 6G + 18A= 24 points, plus-19. Team leading 23:27 TOI/G. Led the defense in blocked shots, 111, takeaways, 17, and giveaways, 35. That last one is rough.
2013 Playoff stats: 2+4=6, -2. Led the D with 19 blocked shots and led all skaters with 25:22 TOI/G
Offense: Beauchy was on pace for the offensive year of his career, 41 points. The 24 he put up was still his 4th highest total ever. However, the 10.98 SH% the Ducks posted while he was on the ice was also the highest of his career, meaning he probably experienced a healthy amount of puck luck this year. Still, Beauchemin has an impactful and underrated point shot that he uses efficiently. He has a good outlet pass that gets the puck moving the other direction. While it might seem counterintuitive, the best thing about Beauchemin's offense is that it hardly ever comes at the expense of his defense. He makes smart decisions on when to attack.
Defense: Beauchemin is a wonderful defensive player. He has good awareness, blocks a ton of shots, and delivers crushing open ice hits. This year he logged exceedingly tough minutes, 47.3 OZ%, and led the Defense in rel QoC. He led the defense in On Ice Sv% with a .941. It was also the highest of his career in the regular season. His corsi of -1.36 wasn't terrible. A defender running through top competition is going to have trouble staying in the positives, especially when his team is pretty bad at possessing the puck. I think Beauchemin's defense spoke for itself this year. He was the Ducks' top defender and the numbers mostly back it up.
Highlight of the Season: It was a season full of highlights for Beauchy, but here's one for all the Dustin Brown haters, for he is oft deserved of hate.
Expectations for Next Year: Honestly, my expectations are very low. Beauchemin was second on the defense with a 1050 PDO. That's pretty huge. He had a career year in terms of the puck going in and the puck staying out. Those numbers will be very hard to replicate. I've said this often, but Beauchemin isn't really a #1 defenseman, the Ducks are just using him like one. When you look at his tool set and his solid hockey sense, Beauchemin is much more suited to being a #2 guy, the other half of the top pairing, the Seabrook to the Keith.
I think the Ducks need to consider getting a guy that compliments Beauchemin better than Souray. Souray's play diminished far more than Beauchemin's and it left a hole on the Ducks' defense. For all the talk of getting Fowler another partner, I think Beauchemin could benefit from a new one as well. In fact, filling the immediate need for Beauchemin makes us a better team now, as we wouldn't be wasting his talents or his contract.
Next year, I expect Beauchemin to stay Beauchemin. The offensive numbers will come down and a few more pucks will go in, dragging down his +/-, but I don't think that those numbers demonstrate Beauchemin's true value. He's a leader, and he will do anything to help the team win. He's a positive influence. He could be half of a very strong shutdown pair or perfectly compliment a real #1 guy. The Ducks need help on the blue line so that a guy like Beauchemin can continue to offer the solid play he's provided for his entire career.
Now to solve the mystery: Why an A- and not an A+. In my opinion, Getzlaf and Beauchemin are the only players deserving an A+ this season. However, playing with slightly torn ACL is crazy! I get it Beauchemin; you're tough. I knew that after 2006! You are the best defender we have right now and risking further injury is straight nuts!! I'm glad it all worked out, but come on man!