The Anaheim Ducks’ movin’ and shakin’ offseason is essentially complete.
The Western Conference finalists signed their final major restricted free agent – forward Carl Hagelin – to a four-year, $16 million contract.
So basically that finishes a summer that saw the team trade for (and sign) defenseman Kevin Bieksa, deal Emerson Etem for Hagelin at the 2015 NHL Draft, sign forward Ryan Kesler to a mega, mega contract extension, and re-up forward Jakob Silfverberg for four years at slightly less bling than Hagelin.
At the draft, general manager Bob Murray noted Hagelin adds a faster element to the game than then-unrestricted free agent forward Matt Beleskey. Beleskey signed with the Boston Bruins for five years at $19 million.
“You see how we got beat. The speed element of the game is getting bigger and bigger and bigger so we have to move along with the times and we got a guy who can really skate,” Murray said.
So his salary cap hit is less than the 26-year-old Hagelin’s, but he will get more dollars over an extended period of time.
Would you take the 27-year-old Beleskey for a lower salary cap hit over more years or Hagelin’s deal?
When asked if Hagelin is essentially a Beleskey replacement, since the latter was likely not going to re-sign with Anaheim at that point, Murray noted they’re different players.
“Beleskey can be a physical player. Hagelin is speed. Speed, tenacity, he’s on the puck really good penalty killer,” Murray said. “I think he can play some power play with the right guys.”
This would be important for the Ducks, since they lost to the fleet-footed Blackhawks in the the Western Conference Final.
Beleskey scored 21 goals last season while Hagelin had back-to-back 17-goal seasons. His rookie year with New York he had 38 points and 14 goals in 64 games. Before 2014-15, Beleskey hit double-digits in goals once in his career.
According to General Fanager, the Ducks have about $8.3 million of salary cap space for next season. The following summer, they’re going to have to deal with re-signing restricted free agents Rickard Rakell, budding star Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen and goaltenders John Gibson and Frederik Andersen.
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