We’ve explained why Matt Beleskey should regret his decision – but should the Anaheim Ducks regret their role in the free agency process? Discuss!
A few days ago, Pucks of a Feather’s Griffin Foster wrote a piece that questions Matt Beleskey’s decision to sign with the Boston Bruins.
I respect Griffin’s opinion, although you have to admit: Beleskey is headed to a franchise with a lot more history and success than the Anaheim Ducks. Still, the Bruins did miss the playoffs last season, and it’s tough to predict how many more seasons they will be a bubble team.
Either way, I’m not here to argue against Griffin’s piece, mostly because I cannot tell you exactly why Beleskey decided to leave Anaheim. See, had Beleskey simply followed the big money to Boston, it would be easy to complain that athletes these days have no loyalty to anything except the holy dollar sign, and condemned Beleskey for throwing the team that gave him the chance to play in the NHL under the bus for cold, hard cash.
However, Beleskey wound up taking less money per season than the Anaheim Ducks had offered – his contract with the Bruins is a five-year deal worth $19 million, which works out to $3.8 million per season, while the Ducks had offered him a four-year deal worth $16 million. Sure, $19 million is more than $16 million, but it’s not like Beleskey knew the Bruins were going to make that offer when he rejected Anaheim’s final offer.
Let’s ignore the possibility that Beleskey assumed he would receive better offers and was forced to “settle” for Boston’s offer only after he realized the cash was not flowing quite as freely as he thought it would be – a distinct possibility, sure, but nothing I can prove yet. Is it possible that Beleskey was simply determined to leave the Anaheim Ducks, no matter what they offered him?
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The fact that Beleskey’s camp made no counter-offer to Anaheim’s four-year, $16 million offer could have been due to the lack of respect Beleskey felt the team was showing him. I’m just speculating here – it is a blog – but there were plenty of trade rumors involving Beleskey in February, and even though he was not shipped out, the Ducks did bring in Jiri Sekac and Tomas Fleischmann. Those moves, and the fact that the Ducks chose not to extend his contract before the trade deadline, could have convinced Beleskey that the team was already assuming that he would be gone come 2015-2016 – not exactly a vote of confidence, especially since Beleskey was pretty vocal in saying that Anaheim was where he wanted to be.
Professional hockey players take being respected very seriously. Not being offered as much money as you think you are worth is one form of disrespect, yes, but so is being dangled as trade bait and watching the club that drafted you go out and bring in your replacements while you are still on the team. Could the Anaheim Ducks have avoided Beleskey’s departure by simply offering a contract extension before the trade deadline? After all, Beleskey was having a breakout season, and though there is reason to believe he will comeback down to earth next season, he was a nice role player who gave Anaheim’s second line scoring punch.
I admit: I assumed that Matt Beleskey’s decision to reject the Anaheim Ducks’ final offer was due to his belief that there was more money to be had out there. Who knows? That could very well still be the case. But there are two sides to every story, and while Ducks GM Bob Murray has come out and expressed his version of what went down, I am curious as to how much the Ducks actually helped push Matt Beleskey out the door.
What do you think?