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Bruins put ineffective Matt Beleskey on waivers

Matt Beleskey (right) has been with the Bruins since 2015.
Matt Beleskey (right) has been with the Bruins since 2015.Winslow Townson/AP

On June 26, 2015, the Bruins traded Milan Lucic to Los Angeles. Five days later, in their pursuit of a left wing to fill part of Lucic’s presence, they signed Matt Beleskey to a five-year, $19 million contract. On the same day, the Bruins traded Reilly Smith and Marc Savard to Florida for Jimmy Hayes

Beleskey was coming off an eight-goal blitzkrieg in 16 playoff games for Anaheim in which he buried 17.8 percent of his 45 shots. In retrospect, Beleskey’s postseason performance was more of an exception than an emergence. 

On Thursday, with 14 games of zero-point results as evidence, the Bruins placed Beleskey on waivers, opening a spot for Ryan Spooner off injured reserve. The 29-year-old Beleskey will be available through noon on Friday for 30 teams to take him for nothing more than a waivers claim. 

The contractual cost of doing so, however, will discourage any of the Bruins’ competitors from making a claim.

Beleskey is signed for two more seasons after this one. A team taking Beleskey on waivers would have to assume the $7 million in salary he is due in the next two years. Based on history, it is not just a 14-game bracket of unlucky zeroes Beleskey has posted. 

Beleskey (8.9 percent career shooting percentage) scored only three goals and five assists in 49 games last season, missing time because of a knee injury. He was a healthy scratch for half of the first round against Ottawa. 

This season, Beleskey wore suit and tie for 10 of the last 11 games. Beleskey had become a game-chaser, unable, for whatever reason, to dictate pace of play, even after an offseason of training to lose weight and improve his speed.

 He reported to Boston behind Brad Marchand on the left-side depth chart. It didn’t take long for Jake DeBrusk, Tim Schaller, and Frank Vatrano to pass him during camp. Once the season started, Spooner, Danton Heinen, Kenny Agostino, and Peter Cehlarik got looks at left wing higher in the lineup. Beleskey watched the Bruins’ 3-2 overtime win over Detroit squarely parked behind Marchand, DeBrusk, Heinen, and Schaller. He has little chance at playing time outside of injuries to incumbents. 

So the Bruins will assign Beleskey to Providence on Friday. The Bruins will receive a prorated $1.025 million of cap relief off Beleskey’s $3.8 million average annual value. They have not closed the books on Beleskey’s NHL season.

“We’ve got guys ahead of him in the lineup,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “The team’s winning. Not a lot of practice time. We just feel as a group that the best way he can help the Boston Bruins is to play and hopefully find his game to where it’s productive at our level. This is the first step in that. Matt has practiced hard. He’s been a really good teammate. He’s well-liked by his guys in the room. Lot of respect for the coaching staff. We just felt this was the best avenue to help himself and help us.” 

Providence plays Syracuse on Friday and Hershey on Saturday. Once Beleskey gets into uniform, the Bruins hope he can reclaim his game and be called upon to contribute in the NHL once more. If not, the Bruins might have to buy out Beleskey as they did with Hayes, his good friend, in June.

If so, Beleskey will be due two-thirds of the remaining $7 million on his deal. The Bruins would have to carry $1,166,667 toward their cap number for four years starting in 2018-19. They are already committed to Hayes ($866,667) and Dennis Seidenberg ($1,116,667) in buyout money next year.

Miller, now a dad, returns

Kevan Miller returned to the lineup against Washington. Miller did not play against Detroit because he remained in Boston with wife Haley and daughter Remy, who was born on Tuesday. Remy is the Millers’ first child.

With Miller unavailable, Paul Postma played 8:47 as the No. 6 defenseman against the Red Wings.

Spooner activatedSpooner (groin) was activated but did not play against Washington. By waiving Beleskey and activating Spooner, the Bruins remained at the 23-player maximum. If they stay healthy, they will have to move another player before activating Adam McQuaid when doctors clear the defenseman. McQuaid broke his right leg on Oct. 19. Doctors originally estimated he would miss eight weeks. Postma could be assigned. The ex-Jet would require waivers . . . Marchand and Dmitry Orlov exchanged whacks in the final minute of the second, earning cross-checking penalties. Cassidy believed a third should have been called on Tom Wilson, who tried to grab Marchand during the scrum. “I think it’s wrong,” Cassidy said of not penalizing Wilson. “To me, to put just two guys in the box in that situation, when a third guy comes in, is there should have been an additional call.” . . . Marchand, Zdeno Chara, and David Backes were among the players who exchanged words and bumps with Wilson, who took a run at Marchand in their previous meeting. Marchand and Wilson finished the night with matching 10-minute misconducts. “That’s what’s gotten him a job in the NHL and continues to allow him to play,” Marchand said of Wilson’s abrasive approach. “He’s effective at what he does.”  


Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.