Beleskey out to prove last season was no fluke


BOSTON -- Most NHL forwards have fulfilled their potential by age 27.

Matt Beleskey is hoping that he’s an exception to that rule.

Beleskey had what some would call a “contract year” with the Anaheim Ducks in 2014-15, scoring 22 goals in the regular season and then popping in another eight during an impressive playoff performance. After spending most of his career as a bottom-six forward, he blossomed last year while playing with offensive talents like Ryan Kesler, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

What he's hoping is that his dramatic improvement continues now that he's signed as a free agent with the Bruins.

“I think I got off to a good start, which helped, and [coach] Bruce Boudreau put me in good positions,” said Beleskey of his final season with the Ducks. “I played on the power play and played a lot with Ryan Kesler. He works extremely hard. He was a great player to work with.

“I think I took some confidence strides in my game, and I knew that it was time for me to be more than just a grinder that was going to help out the team. I wanted to be a guy that was going to lead in situations. I think I took those steps.”

The offensive production and rugged physical play prompted the Bruins to sign the 6-foot, 204-pound Beleskey to a five-year deal worth $3.8 million per season. The reasonable contract means the B's can live with Beleskey if he eventually settles into a dependable third-line role on the team, but will have a real steal on their hands if he continues to pump up the offense.

“I’ll do what [coach Claude Julien] needs me to do, and he’ll put me where he thinks I belong,” said Beleskey, matter-of-factly.

Now he’s setting a goal to prove last season wasn’t a fluke, and that his career is ascending for a Bruins team that could certainly use him as a hustling, powerful, top-line left wing.

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