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Sophomore or Less


Dan Sexton had a goal tonight, but he and fellow Ducks sophomore Matt Beleskey have really been racking up the frequent flyer miles lately.

Arthur, do you think this team can afford to shuttle Beleskey and Sexton for the rest of the season or do you think they should commit to keeping them on the roster?

Well, I think they should commit to keeping them on the roster, because I think both players have developed to the point that they can be effective players for a full NHL season.

But obviously, there are complications. The roster is crowded by a couple of unused players on one year contracts. Lilja, who we have by virtue of injuries and underperformance in the rest of the defensive corps, is a contract that Carlyle apparently felt he didn't need until he sat Sutton tonight. Voros, who sits on the roster presumably to save 600K in salary due Steve Eminger, is making me wonder if playing Eminger at forward might not have been equally productive. And if we're laying out the complications, we have to add to this the fact that the Ducks have already shed players from the roster this season, such that it's an improvement for only Lilja and Voros to be in the way of a permanent spot for Beleskey and/or Sexton.

Some rookies are getting a chance right now, and maybe McMillan's two-way play and Bonino's playmaking will trump whatever Carlyle thinks of Beleskey and Sexton for a while, but I just don't see the logic in shuttling the sophomore players like this every time Voros gets medical clearance. Especially Beleskey, whom the ducks re-upped on the assumption that he would get a shot at the top line and might be able to improve his negotiating position statistically.

I agree. This shuttle system needs to stop. One, it's exhausting for the players. Cross country flights aren't the best way to keep guys fresh. Sexton and Beleskey need to be energetic in order to be effective. I know they are professionals and should be able to perform under the most dire of circumstances. However, guys who are being sent back and forth don't always have the energy to meet what is becoming an even more rigid rubric from Carlyle.

Moreover, the Ducks don't have the best reputation when it comes to giving younger players a fair shake to make the line up. Carlyle's disdain for younger players, except Fowler apparently, and Murray's obsession with the GP category on the back of a hockey card has left the Ducks cupboard full but somewhat forgotten. If this trend continues, guys are going to rue being drafted by Anaheim, we may have more trouble in the free agent market when courting a guy like Dan Sexton, and we won't be able to keep our talent.

During our summer discussions about what Bobby Ryan should be paid, the argument frequently came up that shuttling him had embittered him to our organization. If situations like this continue, that argument might stop being speculation and start showing up in the OC Register when an RFA gets shipped out of town because he won't re-sign.

Sexton and Beleskey have been productive, impact players. It's like the bar has been set impassably high for these guys. The shuttling back and forth is indicative of how Carlyle and Murray have been running this team for the past year and a half, indecisively. I've always said that leadership starts at the top and trickles down. Murray and Carlyle need to commit to these players and let them help our hockey club.