From Beauchemin to Stalberg, we're taking a look at and grading (please read the criteria below before voting) the 2009-10 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Maple Leafs for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2010-11. That means only guys that are still property of the Maple Leafs. We're doing this in concert with Maple Leafs Hot Stove. First up, Francois Beauchemin.
#22 / Defenseman / Toronto Maple Leafs
Jun 04, 1980
Years in NHL: 7
Became a Leaf: Signed as a free agent; Summer of 2009.
Contract Status: Two years left on a three-year deal; $3.8M cap hit.
|2009 - Francois Beauchemin||82||5||21||26||-13||33||4||0||1||0||170||2.9|
Brought in by his former GM to be a workhorse shutdown defenseman for the Maple Leafs, Beauchemin (aka Happy Trails, aka Not Durno) came with the expectation that he would be the same player who had more TOI than Chris Pronger during the Anaheim Ducks cup run in 2007. The hope was that he would be among the best second pairing defensemen in the league. And while he very well might be just that for the Leafs, this past season brought more angst than praise for Francois Beauchemin.
Read entire post before voting. More after the jump.
Until the addition of Dion Phaneuf, Beauchemin was clocking more ice-time than any other Leaf. Post Phaneuf, Beauchemin ended up finishing second among defensemen with 25:27 of icetime a game. And those extra minutes were spent up against the oppositions top talent, as #22 had the highest QUALCOMP on the team, let alone defensemen. So in that regard, Beauchemin did exactly what he was supposed to do; play big minutes against other teams' big lines and he did that well as his Corsi relative to QUALCOMP shows.
At the time of his signing, another aspect of his game that was highly touted was his cannon slapshot from the point. Yet while logging over 3 minute of power play time a night, Beauchemin scored just 5 goals; the same amount as Luke "I never play on the the PP" Schenn. Though perhaps that is not all Beauchemin's fault as no Leaf defenseman scored more than 9 goals. That nine goal scorer of course being Ian White in only 56 games played. :( With the addition of Dion Phaneuf, Beauchemin saw his PP time drastically decrease and found himself playing on the second unit with Carl Gunnarsson instead of on the first with Tomas Kaberle.
More often than not, after a loss it was Francois Beauchemin's name being mentioned as having made one or two bonehead plays throughout the game. For some reason, he just never seemed to settle down throughout the season and gel with his partner; be that Schenn, Gunnarsson, or Finger. And one stat that helps further along this thought along is his +/- rating: -13, good for second worst on the team and only ahead of Tomas "I don't play defense well" Kaberle. Ugh, that's bad.
This was Beauchemin's only fight of the year. He's definitely got room for improvement next season.
Based on pre-season expectations and the lay of the land at the end of the season, I'd give Francois Beauchemin a
6.5 7 on this past season. While not his best ever offensively or defensively; I think he did exactly what he was supposed to do; play hard minutes against top opposition with a little added time on special teams. With the addition of Phaneuf, Beauchemin is now less relied upon for his offense and I believe that to be a good thing. While some may say that paying a 2nd pairing defenseman $3.8M is a sin in the salary cap era, I think those people are first looking at what is being paid to Phaneuf and Komisarek and then judging Beauchemin on their salaries as a whole. If you take a look at similar defensemen; Craig Rivet, Dennis Wideman, Michal Rozsival; Beauchemin's contract doesn't look bad at all with his numbers.
This is where you get to play talent evaluator. Rate Beauchemin below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1. Back up your vote in the comments section and bring up anything else related to Francois that you'd like to discuss.