Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare is living the NHL dream despite being 29, undrafted and a career European player. The French forward has been a solid addition to the Flyers bottom six forwards, but with the Flyers playoffs dim at best and Bellemare being 29, the Flyers should be shopping him in the hopes of acquiring a better piece at the trade deadline.
In order to determine his value, we can look at a list of comparable players. Bellemare sees some tough usage, and in fact matches up quite well to Brad Richardson of the Canucks with regards to usage. Richardson however does get better results. Derek Dorsett is another 4th line forward, who was dealt in the summer for a third round pick from the Rangers to the Canucks.
While Mike Richards and Jarrett Stoll were both dealt as part of big deals, both of them come from a higher pedigree and scoring value than Bellemare. Since Bellemare is a purely defensive option in the bottom six, Dorsett and Richardson are his best comparable.
Richardson was dealt for a 2nd round pick in 2008 so we have some idea of the value of Bellemare. Bellemare’s lack of comparable results probably puts his value as a third round pick.
The other pictured players are just used to help establish context, Marcus Kruger of the Hawks is used exclusively to take the tough defensive assignments while Komarov (TOR) and Fehr (WSH) pick up tough opponents in similar zone starts. In fact, if any of these 3 players were to suffer a season ending injury, Bellemare could be considered as their replacement.
So, where does Bellemare go?
Unlike the previous two entries in this series, there really is no “one team” outside of Winnipeg who could use a skill player who plays quality defense in bottom 6. Chris Thorburn in Winnipeg sees the same zone usage as Bellemare against easier opponents and gets torched on possession while doing so. Bellemare would be an upgrade for the Jets if they want to hold onto a playoff spot.
As mentioned in the Coburn piece, the Jets might need to splurge on a rental to supplement their draft and develop strategy. This is especially true if GM Kevin Chevaldayoff is feeling any heat to make the playoffs for the first time since the franchise moved to Winnipeg and for only the second time in the Thrasher-Jet history.
If that’s the case, the Jets may get involved for Bellemare.
Also, with Bellemare only carrying a 600K cap hit, any team strapped for cash and not having a large LTIR cushion or having internal budget issues might prefer to rent Bellemare instead of a higher cost player. This is where things get complicated. Chicago and Boston both have cap problems, but neither has enough injury problems to warrant a move. Chicago could decide to cut their losses with the suspended Dan Carcillo and might be interested in Bellemare, Boston could lose someone to injury and look to Philly to cough up Bellemare as a replacement.
This is the most interesting scenario, Bellemare is super-affordable, effective in a bottom six role and due to lack of pedigree, doesn’t actually need to play and can be justified as being used as a 13th forward come playoff team, or finding his way into the pressbox if he is an injury fill in for a team.
As of now, the spot for him isn’t open, but a few injuries later, and someone just might come knocking. In a perfect world, the Flyers grab a third round pick for him, but just punching any lottery ticket with a mid round pick can be considered a win on the investment.