The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the team has acquired forward Taylor Beck from the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Jamie Devane.
“I think he realized it’s not just about talent—he has a ton of talent—he’s learned how to play really hard, and play physical and stand over pucks in the ozone, he doesn’t throw pucks away; he holds onto and uses his strength, he’s been really awesome the whole year”.
– Teammate Mark Van Guilder on Beck’s play last season
Position: Right Wing — shoots R
Born: May 13 1991 — St. Catharines, ONT [24 yrs. ago]
Height: 6.02 — Weight 206 [188 cm/93 kg]
Drafted by: Nashville Predators – round 3 #70 overall 2009 NHL Entry Draft
Beck had elected for arbitration, which is likely the reason for the Predators essentially giving him away to the Maple Leafs (in exchange for former 3rd round pick Jamie Devane, who, at age 24 and with 16 career pro points to his name, was arguably worth negative one Standard Player Contract spot at this point).
On the analytics side, since 2012-2013, Beck has maintained an even possession rating of 50%. This past year he slipped to 46.9% after receiving some tougher assignments.
Devane had fallen out of favour and was part of the old regime’s focus on truculence. One by one, the Leafs are parting with those picks. The Leafs probably would’ve given Devane away for free to avail the SPC slot, so to grab an NHL asset with upside is a nice little bit of business.
TAYLOR BECK SCOUTING REPORT
Assets: Has excellent offensive makeup, as well as very good size. Can play on either side of center, which adds to his overall value.
Flaws: Needs plenty of work without the puck and in defensive situations. Also needs to make more of his 6-2, 203-pound frame.
Career Potential: Talented winger with some upside.
– The Forecaster
Notes from Anthony Petrielli:
Beck played for the Guelph Storm in the OHL, on a line with current Leaf Peter Holland. In the two seasons following his draft year, the third round pick actually led the team in scoring over the first round pick (Holland) in each year.
After a four year career in the OHL, all on Guelph, Beck went to Nashville’s farm team in Milwaukee and produced immediately. His first year in the AHL he had 40 points in 74 games. The season after that he put up 41 points in 50 games.
This past season, Beck played 62 games on a really good Nashville team and put up 8 goals and 16 points. In the playoffs, he played in five of their six games and was held pointless.
His most common linemates on the season were Paul Gaustad and Eric Nystrom, along with Shea Weber and Roman Josi. That means he was handling tough assignments and zone starts all season on a good team. The 6’2 right handed right winger had a CF% of 46.9, but you can’t take it at face value considering who he played with and how he was deployed. The fact that he still managed to have a positive goals for percentage on the season is a big positive towards his game. On top of that all, he was averaging 11:55 of ice time per game, so he wasn’t roster fodder– He played a legitimately important role on a good team.
Without Gaustad and Nystrom, Beck was a 50CF% player, which is what will attract the Leafs as well. He was reasonably productive and didn’t get outscored in tough assignments; then, he kept his head above water when he wasn’t in that scenario.
For the Leafs, this gives them another player that is heading towards arbitration (Jonathan Bernier being the other), which probably played a role in Nashville dealing him. That said, when the price to pay for an NHL caliber player is a non-NHL caliber player, it’s an easy decision every time for a team with money to spend like Toronto.
Previously, the roster had an opening for a 13th forward battle between Matt Frattin and Sam Carrick, but Beck figures to have a step up on both considering his play last year and that the Leafs went out and acquired him (and will subsequently pay him).
With the Leafs OHL ties, they likely have not forgotten the damage Beck and Holland used to do together, and it would not be surprising to see the two reunited. That would give the Leafs a pair of 6’2 players playing together, along with other potential 6’2 bottom six players in Richard Panik, and Daniel Winnik, while Nick Spaling is 6’1. For all the talk of small, skilled players, the Leafs bottom six looks like it will have some size.
Getting a player who can make this team and contribute in a productive fashion for essentially nothing is a can’t lose move for the Leafs, and at 24, there’s a chance the Leafs just acquired value for years to come. It’s a good move with very little downside.
Taylor Beck Statistics
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But Leafs could now trade for a bad contract + an asset and buy the deal out for another team. In theory. Lot of candidates out there.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) July 12, 2015
Taylor Beck Video