Late this afternoon, the Phoenix Coyotes announced they have reached a deal with Éric Bélanger – who spent 17 games with the Washington Capitals following last seasons trade deadline. It was reported earlier that Belly was originally looking for a three to four-year deal with the Capitals, but that he had then settled for a one-year, $1.85-million deal.
Perhaps the most astounding aspect of Bélanger’s new contract was that he stepped down from the aforementioned reported $1.85-million (and even the $1.75-million he made in 2009-10) to accept $750,000 over one year. In time split between the Minnesota Wild and the Capitals last season, Belly notched 15 goals en route to 42 points. He won 52.0% of his draws.
And while we think that Mathieu Perreault could pivot the second line, without a true NHL-tested centerman onboard signs are now pointing towards the recently re-signed, and possible Capitals curse victim, Tomas Fleischmann as the second line Center. Ideally, Marcus Johansson‘s skill would place him as 2C, but he is still working to evolve his play to fit the North American style of play – but being flanked by Alex Semin and Brooks Laich should be enough to overcome any slow-to-develop traits.
As the most examined topic of the off-season, we can expect the competition for the second line point guard to live up to the hype as the Caps’ push into Training Camp.