Capitals Sign Second Line Center???

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, August 12, 2010 | , , , | 0 comments »

According to this report by James Mirtle, the "mystery team" that signed C Eric Belanger is indeed the team he last played for, the Washington Capitals, to a one-year, $1.85 million contract.  The salary is a slight raise from the $1.75 million Belanger made last season. 

The report also says the reason Belanger was instructed not to reveal the team was that Washington did not want him to announce it for fear of complicating another deal they had in the works, potentially moving a forward in exchange for a defenseman.

Belanger had 15 goals and 26 assists in 77 games last season between Minnesota and D.C.

The report also links the Caps with free agent D Willie Mitchell yet again, who has recovered from his concussion sustained at the end of last season.  Mitchell remains another possibility to bolster the Caps devensive corps.

The Belanger deal certainly opens up the idea once again that C/RW Tomas Fleischmann could be the moving part in this equation.  Flash had moments of brilliance last season shrouded in a fog of playing a new position and the extended Olympic break. 

But the memory of his complete disappearance in the opening round loss to the Montreal Canadiens has to linger in the mind of GM George McPhee and Coach Bruce Boudreau.

McPhee did well by signing Fleischmann before arbitration to protect his asset, but Flash seems to have fallen into a "square peg" situation, much like Michael Nylander before him.  Both players are obviously talented, but either misfit for the style or position asked of him.