No one can really argue that the trade that brought Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim wasn't a brilliant move. Beauchemin has already shown that he mixes well with the Anaheim defensive style of play, so what else makes this move so smart? Here's my list of five reasons why Beauchemin being back in Anaheim is a great thing:
1. Return of a friendly familiar face from '07 Cup team:
No one enjoyed saying goodbye to Joffrey Lupul, but I really believe that Beauchemin has been welcomed back to Anaheim with open arms. Frankie was a huge part of the defense that propelled the Ducks to the Stanley Cup back in 2007, and with Anaheim being thin on the blue line this year, adding Beauchemin was a brilliant move. Beau can really help out other top defenders like Toni Lydman and Lubomir Visnovksy, and take some of the ice time that has burdened both of them since Neidermayer's retirement.
2. Proven talent that mixes well with our defense:
The last time that Beauchemin was in a Ducks jersey, he played with some big names like Scott Neidermayer and Chris Pronger, both of whom have since retired or left Anaheim respectively. Beauchemin did not mix well with the Maple Leaf defense, and because of that he made his way back into the Duck's sweater. Beauchemin was a huge force for Anaheim last time he played for us, and so we have those expectations since Anaheim's defense hasn't changed its preferences much.
Will Francois Beauchemin and Cam Fowler have the chemistry that Beau had with Scott Neidermayer?
3. Veteran presence:
Beauchemin is a seasoned player, and with young players like Luca Sbisa and Cam Fowler on the defense roster, that experience and talent will really help to mature those young players into the types of players that Anaheim loves to house. Beauchemin will be able to team up with Lydman and Visnovksy and lead the blue liners to more stable ground. Anaheim can no longer be called "weak" defensively because Beauchemin really fortifies the formerly shaky defenders in front of Anaheim's net.
4. Coupled with Fowler (our new-age Neidermayer) could be Magical:
Last time Beau was in the Ducks' jersey, he was one of the many players who found a spark when partnered with Scott Neidermayer. Considering Anaheim is now home to one of the young defenders who plays awfully similar to Neidermayer in Cam Fowler, I know I'm not the only one expecting some sort of chemistry between Frankie and Cam's playing styles. Cam Fowler has been an absolute blessing this year, and no one can deny he has resembled the beloved Scotty, and with Beau here, he could help Cam to mature and continue to grow while still being a key partnership.
5. Salary Cap Space:
I know that this isn't the first thing to come to mind when you think of how happy Anaheim is to get Beauchemin back, but when you look deeper into the numbers, trading Lupul for Beauchemin was smart in terms of contracts as well. Beauchemin is cheaper, and his contract expires next year, as opposed to Lupul being a free agent come 2013-2014. Why does this matter? There are a few guys, maybe you have heard of them, named Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, as well as big defenders in Lydman and Visnovksy who will all be free agents the same Summer that Lupul will be. Beauchemin not only gives us a bit more salary cap room, but his contract expires at a more opportune time for Anaheim.
All in all, Beauchemin was clearly what Anaheim needed to reignite the fight and passion that we all know they can play with. The fortified defense is really something that can help them push into, and a long way through, the post-season.
For reasons why signing Ray Emery was also a good move, click here.