Matt Beleskey, one of the NHL’s most coveted unrestricted free agents, met with the Toronto Maple Leafs, ESPN’s Craig Custance reported Tuesday.
The 27-year-old left winger is coming off a career season with the Anaheim Ducks and will become a free agent on Wednesday.
Since Beleskey and Ducks GM Bob Murray failed to find common ground in negotiations, the forward has taken advantage of the interview period available to the NHL’s pending UFAs, speaking with multiple clubs.
It is believed Beleskey, whose previous deal carried a modest $1.35-million salary cap hit, is hunting for a multi-year deal in the ballpark of $5 million per season.
“He played good minutes for us last year, put up some good points and scored some timely goals,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said last week.
Beleskey scored a career-best 22 goals to go along with 10 assists and a plus-13 rating last season, raising his stock to an all-time high.
At the NHL Draft, Leafs president Brendan Shanahan told reporters he did not expect Toronto to make a big splash in free agency.
Montreal, Pittsburgh and Boston are just three other clubs expected to add a top-six forward this off-season.
According to ESPN, as many as 12 clubs have expressed interest in Beleskey.