At the beginning of December we were singing Matt Beleskey’s praises, and with good reason — the career checking forward was in the midst of a breakout campaign, leading his team in goals while sitting among the NHL’s top-10 marksmen as well.
How things have changed.
Beleskey will reportedly be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game against Toronto, per Sportsnet and the O.C. Register. The move comes after Beleskey struggled in Anaheim’s last two games — going scoreless with a minus-4 rating — and was bumped down to the fourth line alongside Nate Thompson and Tim Jackman.
“When I’m playing well, [Ducks Coach] Bruce [Boudreau] plays you,” Beleskey said, per the L.A. Times. “He doesn’t think I’m playing my best, [so] I’m not going to play as much. You roll with it.”
Beleskey, who still leads the Ducks with 17 goals, is in an interesting spot. He’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and his agent, Murray Kuntz, began contract extension talks with Anaheim earlier this month. Beleskey said he wouldn’t let his status become an issue, but it’s possibly become a distraction as the 26-year-old could be line for a significant raise on the $1.35 million he’s currently making.
“You do think about the future,” Beleskey said, per the O.C. Register. “I want nothing more than to stay in Anaheim. I’ve never been anywhere else and I don’t think there’s a reason to go anywhere else.
“This is where I’d like to be. Hopefully we’ll see what happens.”