On Wednesday afternoon the Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have signed French forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to an NHL contract. The 29 year old winger (he primarily plays the left side) spent last season playing for Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League. He scored 20 goals and recorded 15 assists in 52 games.
Bellemare is six feet tall and weighs about 196-198lbs. He is left handed and will likely slot into the the third or fourth line. Although the terms of the contract have not been announced, it is likely in the range of a Michael Raffl (1 year, $792,500) or Dennis Rasmussen (1 year, $793,000) deal. For a cap tight team like the Flyers, signings like these usually pay huge dividends.
Much of what brought attention to Bellemare was his solid play at the 2014 IIHF World Championships. In eight games for Team France Bellemare averaged a point per game, recording three goals and five assists. His shootout goal against Canada (can be seen here at 1:41 mark) lifted the French over the Canadians.
Word on the street is that Bellemare brings speed and an underrated pair of hands. Eliteprospects has this to say about the Frenchman:
An offensive winger who plays in high speed. Has good stickhandling ability and a good shot. Finds open space well and always works hard. A good penalty killer. Can also play center effectively, thanks to a strong two-way game.
To me, he sounds like a great third line option. Some may say that he will slot in next to Sean Couturier and Matt Read. That’s possible, but this could also be an opportunity to see Matt Read and/or Michael Raffl take on a top six role.
Bellemare is not on a two-way contract. The press release specifically called it an “NHL contract.” He will have a chance to sink or swim in training camp.