By: Andrew Thompson Twitter: @Godwentwhoops
When the Boston Bruins placed forward Matt Beleskey on waivers last Thursday, the fan base was generally in favor of the move. He’s spent the majority of the season either on the bottom-six or watching the game from the ninth level. (In fact, many were saying that it was about time.) In the last two years with Boston, Beleskey has only put in three goals in 64 games.
It’s a shame that a player that had so much potential may never play as a Boston Bruin again.
“Matt [Beleskey] is very well liked in the room”, shared Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy to the media. “So, no one likes to see a player get waived. The way we look at it as an organization is, he hadn’t played much, and I think the best way for him to get back to helping the Boston Bruins is to get playing,” said Cassidy. “So, he goes to Providence, finds his game, what he did well before previously – from my end, we just thought there were some players in the lineup that outperformed him, plain and simple.
“We are trying to reward the players that earned it on merit and not look so much at maybe contract status, et cetera. You know, within reason. I think some of the young guys have pushed him. We’ve seen it at different positions and that’s as simple as I can make it. Like I said, I like Matt. He’s very respectful of the coaching staff of what we are trying to do. We just felt we had better in the lineup. The team is going well. The decision was made.”
Matt Beleskey was a polarizing figure for the Bruins fan base. While he had a strong first season with the Black and Gold, his performance fell off the radar after that. Two seasons of sub-par play, coupled with injuries gave the front office no choice but to put him on the waiver wire.
The Bruins likely knew that there wasn’t much chance of another team picking up Beleskey. Even the Anaheim Ducks (who are having their own front-end problems) to pick up their former forward. The 29-year old’s $3.8 million cap hit is just too extreme for any NHL team to pick up at the moment.
So where does Beleskey go from here?
Beleskey now finds himself on one of the hottest teams in the AHL right now. The Baby B’s are 18-7-2 and are near the top of the AHL’s Atlantic Division. He’ll certainly get some playing time in Providence. The team will be able to use his skill and experience at the AHL level.
Beleskey (short of injuries in Boston) will likely finish the 2017-18 season in Providence. The talent pool in Boston is just crazy right now, and it would be very hard for him to break his way back into the NHL this year. If he stays in Providence, the Bruins organization will get a refund of sorts. ($1.025 million in savings on the salary cap.)
The Bruins won’t (or REALLY, REALLY shouldn’t) buyout his contract either. To do so would cost the B’s $4.6 million over the next four years. The team is already paying out for Jimmy Hayes (who seems to be doing alright with the Devils), and Dennis Seidenberg (who is happy to be playing with Johnny Boychuk on the Islanders). The Bruins organization can’t afford to be footing the bill for three players not suiting up in the spoked ‘B’.
Now it’s up to Bells. If he has a strong remainder of the season, he can become a trade piece of moderate to above-average value. He may even fight his way back on the team next season. If he flounders at the AHL level (which seems very unlikely), then the B’s may just wash their hands of him.