clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Canadiens should avoid pursuing Matt Beleskey via free agency

New, comments

He scores goals, and the Habs need more goal scorers, but Beleskey probably isn't a safe solution

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Many voices around the hockey world are suggesting that the Habs should pursue free agent Matt Beleskey. On the surface, it's a logical fit. The Habs need goals, and Beleskey scored 22 last season, third on the Anaheim Ducks, behind only Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

However, once you start to scratch the surface on Beleskey's playing career, it becomes quite apparent that last year was the outlier.

As you can see, his impact on his linemates' is generally negative when examining both Corsi against and goals against.

beleskey

How about his shot generation and suppression impact? With the exception of this past season, Beleskey hurts his team more than he helps.

beleskey 1

In terms of offense, Beleskey is no slouch. He does create a lot on individual scoring chances and shots, which is a department where the Habs generally struggle.

beleskey

Beleskey spent the majority of his season alongside Ryan Kesler and Kyle Palmieri, however he did play a fair amount of games on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

He ended up with a very respectable 54% Corsi for, and 127 individual scoring chances, which is somewhere between Lars Eller's 110, and Alex Galchenyuk's 141 scoring chances created last season.

Red Flags

If the Habs need goals, and Beleskey is a goal scorer, what's the problem?

First of all we need to take a look at his shooting percentage last season, the major reason he hit the 22 goal mark.

He had a 15.2 SH%, which is much higher than his career average heading into the 2014-15 season of just under 8%. That's not to say that he didn't earn his goals, however it's always a major concern when a player suddenly explodes offensively thanks to an inflated shooting percentage.

Next there's the contract demands. If Beleskey's agent is wise, he'll be seeking a long term contract to capitalize on his client's sudden success, and the incredibly weak 2015 free agency class.

Beleskey is rumoured to have immediately rejected a $4M long term deal from the Ducks, which indicates that he's banking on a desperate team to open up the vault come July 1st.

As much as the Canadiens need help in the offense department, Marc Bergevin would be wise to avoid pursuing Beleskey, seeing as how there's almost no chance the Habs would be able to sign him to a contract that would generate good value.

Simply put, Beleskey is a decent player, but he's not a smart target at the $5M per year range.

(If you enjoyed the charts presented above, consider following the creator Domenic Galamini, on Twitter.)