Center Eric Belanger, now a former Washington Capital, signed a one-year free agent contract with the Phoenix Coyotes for $750,000 Tuesday. The deal surprised a lot of folks after early-summer rumors of his return to D.C.
Apparently, the whole thing surprised Belanger and his agent as well, as they believed they had a verbal agreement for a one-year, $1.85 million contract.
Belanger, and his representitive Joe Tacopina, believes the Caps backed out of a deal because they were not able to complete a trade they wanted to make before announcing Belanger's signing.
First, as any lawyer will tell you, a deal is not a deal until it's a deal.
Second, thank goodness whatever the hold up was happened, since it saves the Caps a ton on salary cap room.
It's easy to understand Belanger's frustration, since he already found a house to rent and put his kids in school in the area. It's a tough business some times. But his agent really is at fault here, allowing his client to make those arrangements absent a signed, announced deal.
It's the agent's responsibility to protect his client, not the organization.
Belanger misses the opportunity to play for a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, but will probably spend time on Phoenix' top line and power-play unit, so he has a chance to put up some numbers and have another payday next off-season. Just don't expect his agent to solicit any offers from George McPhee.