Matt Beleskey broke out last year scoring 22 goals in 65 games with the Ducks. This year he’s cashing in with Boston on a 5 year, 19 million dollar deal leaving a major whole in the Ducks top line. Now that’s not saying the Ducks don’t have a replacement for Beleskey, but the main question is why did the Ducks let him go?
The answer comes in the form of his shooting percentage. Why shooting percentage? The casual fan doesn’t think much about shooting percentage, but it is incredibly important. Lets say a player takes 500 shots in a season and scores 50 goals, the player scored on 10% of his shots. The league average is 9%. Beleskey shot 15.2% last year which is a insanely high number. His career average going into last year was 8.1% and now is 9.9% due to last year. The main reason he shot so well last year is because he played on the same line as all-stars Corry Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Opposing teams would focus their defensive efforts more on Getzlaf or Perry rather than focusing on Beleskey. That allowed him to get open shots. Beleskey’s numbers were also not overly impressive outside of his scoring as he only had 10 assists and a mediocre 32 points.
Meanwhile the Ducks have two left wings who could fit the bill, Carl Hagelin and Patrick Maroon. Hagelin had 35 points last year for the Rangers and the young winger is only getting better. The other option is veteran winger Patrick Maroon who had 34 points last year for the Ducks. His only negative stat was his minus five rating, but even that can be explained. Maroon played with the Ryan Kessler line and they were on the ice for more defensive zone face-offs therefore taking the hardest defensive assignments. He also spent some time with the 1st line during the post season last year.
Who goes on the 1st line is really preference, whoever plays with Perry and Getzlaf should be successful. You can opt for a veteran who has chemistry with the two or the speedy Hagelin. From any view point letting go of Beleskey was a good move for the franchise as the Ducks will not be overpaying him and it kept cap space open for the signings of Hagelin and Silfverberg who are both restricted free agents. (Hagelin was traded by the Rangers due to the their cap space issues) Maybe the Ducks will be looking for a left wing at the trade deadline, but letting go of Beleskey gets an A.