A tough year for Matt Beleskey might get a bit tougher in the next few days.
The Boston Bruins' forward hasn't been seeing the ice a whole lot lately, mostly due to the frustrating campaign he's had. Beleskey was once again a healthy scratch for the Bruins’ 2-1 OT win over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday. In November, then-head coach Claude Julien relegated Beleskey to the press box, and things haven't improved under new coach Bruce Cassidy.
Prior to the bye week, Cassidy played Beleskey a team-low 7:37 in a dominant 4-0 win over Montreal, and that came only one game after Beleskey sat as a healthy scratch against Vancouver.
The 28-year old, who signed to a five-year, $19 million deal two years ago, has just two goals through 33 games this season. In addition, Beleskey's season has been marred by injury, as he missed 23 games this season with a knee ailment. It is obviously frustrating for the gritty forward, who potted 15 and 22 goals in each of his previous two campaigns.
Given his cap hit, and decreased production, Beleskey could wind a being a trade casualty prior to the March. 1 NHL Trade Deadline.
With the NHL’s March 1 trade deadline fast approaching, the 28-year-old Beleskey and his $3.8 million cap hit would be a prime for a swap, although he has a limited no-trade provision in his contract. Hired on for a five-year, $19 million deal in July 2015, he has not provided the playing edge or the offensive numbers hoped for when new GM Don Sweeney coaxed him away from the Anaheim Ducks.
Arizona could make for a prime partner in a Beleskey swap. The Coyotes likely will move Radim Vrbata, the 35-year-old Czech winger, who is on an expiring contract (with a $3.25 million cap hit). The Desert Dogs would end up with a winger under contract control for three more seasons and it would allow Beleskey, who scored 22 goals in his final season with the Ducks, a fresh start to try to rediscover his offensive input.
The Coyotes have been known to take on unwanted contracts in recent seasons. The team took on the remainder of Pavel Datsyuk’s deal with Detroit at last year’s draft, as well as the rest of Dave Bolland's contract in a trade. They also acquired the remainder of Chris Pronger's deal with Philadelphia, which many believed to be the most unwanted contract in the NHL.
The Coyotes could be in line for his services at the deadline.