Ducks’ Matt Beleskey thankful to avoid trade frenzy
Maybe the recent acquisitions of forwards Jiri Sekac and Tomas Fleischmann is further writing on the wall that this will be Matt Beleskey’s final season as a Duck.
First of all, the currently injured forward (shoulder) said he doesn’t necessarily interpret the additions that way.
“I don’t think so at all,” Beleskey said Wednesday after the Ducks’ morning skate at Honda Center, in which he took part.
Ducks General Manager Bob Murray “made moves to make our team better. It’s always been a battle for your ice time here. If you’re playing well, you’ll play. If you’re not, you won’t.”
Secondly, he’s appreciative that as a looming unrestricted free agent, he was kept out of the heavy NHL trading deadline deals that Murray participated in.
“It definitely weighed on me. The last thing I wanted to do was leave with this team going to the playoffs,” Beleskey said. “It was awesome to wake up the next morning being a Duck. That’s all I wanted for sure.”
Beleskey, in the midst of a career-best 21-goal season, said he has sought to avoid speculating on the meaning of personnel moves, such as the Ducks’ decision not to extend Beleskey’s contract before the trade deadline, which moves him closer to the temptation of offers from other teams in June.
“I hope we get it done,” Beleskey said. “I want to win a Stanley Cup. And I want a long playoff run here with the Ducks. I’m sure we can work on it. This is where I want to be.”
Beleskey said he appreciated “the moves to become a Stanley Cup team.”
He said he could return from his shoulder injury as early as next week’s road trip to Vancouver, Calgary and Minnesota. He’s missed eight games.
Big hurts: The Ducks announced Wednesday that forward Tim Jackman, who suffered a third-period leg injury Sunday in Dallas, will be sidelined for four to six weeks.
While the Ducks are without another rugged forward in Beleskey and have moved to acquire more speed with the six trades of the past week-plus, is toughness now a concern?
“We’re noted as a big, strong, heavy team … but we’ll have to overcome,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We always look at it as it’s someone else’s turn to do good.”
Injured defenseman Sami Vatanen, out since Feb. 15 with an unspecified lower-body injury, skated Wednesday. Boudreau said he expected Vatanen to miss another two weeks.
Old vs. new: Young forwards Sekac and Devante Smith-Pelly will square off against their teams with their new teams Wednesday night.
Sekac, who has two assists and is plus-four in four games as a Duck since his Feb. 24 trade from Montreal, wore a bright orange Anaheim cap in talking to the Montreal media following Wednesday’s morning skate.
He said that despite his original interest in playing for the NHL’s most decorated franchise, he quickly found out that the Canadiens and Coach Michel Therrien weren’t suited for his offensive style.
“It was harder to play in Montreal, as a defensive forward, taking all the defensive faceoffs,” Sekac said. “It sucks a lot of energy from you, and then when you want to put that energy into your offense, you just don’t have it. That team is very defensive.”
Smith-Pelly, meanwhile, is point-less and minus-two in three games since joining the Canadiens.
Gibson leaves first: After Frederik Andersen beat the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night, John Gibson was the first goaltender off the ice at Wednesday’s morning skate and will return to net for the back-to-back challenge against the Atlantic Division leader.
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