Are the Anaheim Ducks missing Francois Beauchemin more than they thought they might?
It’s a question we’ve been hearing more and more lately, as the Ducks’ goal-scoring woes of October have been replaced by defensive issues in November.
Anaheim is 3-4-2 in its last nine games. The Ducks have allowed 27 goals in regulation during that stretch — that’s three per game on average — plus two more in a pair of overtime losses.
In a related story, per the O.C. Register, here’s what coach Bruce Boudreau said the other day about offseason acquisition Kevin Bieksa:
“He’s a veteran guy that has to fight his way out of this. We count on him to not make mistakes. We will go as far as guys like him take us.”
Bieksa, 34, is minus-7 in his last four games combined. True, he’s forced to play a lot of hard minutes against good players. But then, that’s exactly what he was brought in to do. The Ducks even gave him a two-year, $8 million extension, locking him up through 2017-18.
Now consider what Boudreau said during last year’s playoff run, about the guy Bieksa was brought in to replace:
“He’s the voice. Everybody else is so young. [He] is the voice back there.”
And Beauchemin was more than just a talker. He led the Ducks in ice time. He had nine assists in 16 playoff games. Bottom line: he was a big part of a team that fell one win shy of making the Stanley Cup Final.
Beauchemin, of course, signed a three-year deal with Colorado on July 1, for a cap hit of $4.5 million. So far, he’s been as advertised for the Avs. The 35-year-old has two goals and 10 assists. He gets the most ice time on the team, an average of 23:33.
Looking back, Anaheim GM Bob Murray never did want to lose Beauchemin. The Ducks just weren’t prepared to offer what the Avs did.
“Beauch’ has been a pretty good warrior for us,” Murray said in June. “He has a one-time chance for free agency and maybe somebody will give him $5 million.… I couldn’t do that.”
One has to wonder now if Murray wishes he’d found a way.
The Ducks host the Blackhawks tonight on NBCSN.