The Ryan O'Reilly to the Sabres rumor is all the rage these days. Buffalo is in need of a veteran winger to add to what is already a very promising top six offense. Instead of breaking the bank on O'Reilly both in compensation and money, why not pursue a underrated winger who has put up big time production in the regular season and playoffs like Matt Beleskey has? It not only could upgrade one of our top lines but would also allow Tim Murray to use the 21st overall pick and any other draft picks in a potential trade for a goaltender instead of giving these picks to Colorado for Ryan O'Reilly who is reported to want 60 million over 8 years.
Beleskey scored 22 goals in only 65 games played in the regular season. He is a great puck handler who has a knack for crashing the net and making the most of his chances.
He has a major clutch gene as well. Beleskey scored 8 goals in 16 playoff games this year with the Ducks who made a run all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
Beleskey did indeed benefit from playing with some big time weapons in Anaheim, but he would immediately be plugged in on the first or second line playing with either Eichel and Kane or Reinhart and Ennis. Either way he will be in a situation where he can come in and put up 20-25 goals if healthy.
The Ducks contract offer was reported to be worth $16 million over 4 years. It was immediately rejected as Beleskey is now a unrestricted free agent.
Although it will be a costly contract, it would be worth the Sabres while to make a push to sign Beleskey. It is going to cost this kind of money if the team really wants to sign a top six forward instead of converting either Girgensons or Grigorenko to wing. This would take the Sabres out of the hunt for Ryan O'Reilly but that is a blessing in disguise. It would let Murray either use the first round pick on a promising prospect, or use it to package in a deal for a goalie like Cam Talbot or Eddie Lack.