The Carolina Hurricanes announced that defenseman Brett Bellemore has signed a two-year two-way contract, beginning with the 2011/2012 season. Bellemore, 23, spent the past two full seasons in the Hurricanes organization at the AHL level with Albany, and most recently the Checkers. Prior to that, he spent four seasons with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL.
Bellemore will be another welcome addition to the Checkers line up. Last season, he was Michal Jordan’s defense partner. Assuming the two stay together, I’d expect more great things out of that combination.
Bellemore’s two years of AHL experience make him our most experienced defenseman.
Hurricanes and Defense:
Currently, the Hurricanes have seven defenseman under contract who will probably begin the season with them in Raleigh. For their minor league squad, including Bellemore, seven defenseman are under contract, two of whom (Justin Kruegar and Tommi Kivisto) have European transfer agreements and contracts and can choose not to play in North America.
Other defenseman include Michal Jordan, who spent the entire season in Charlotte last year, Kyle Lawson who played all but 18 games in Florida, Rasmus Rissanen who played one game for Charlotte, and Justin Faulk who played two rounds of the playoffs with Charlotte. Needless to say, it’s a very young squad that still lacks veteran leadership. Hopefully the Hurricanes will complete contract negotiations with Bobby Sanguinetti, and either re-sign Casey Borer or find another skilled veteran defenseman.
If I had my choice, that veteran would be two-time Calder Cup Champion Andre Benoit. He had 55 points last year (11G, 44A) and served as an Alternate Captain with the Binghamton Senators. Benoit’s fast, offensive style of play would be a huge benefit to the Checkers, especially with the loss of Bryan Rodney on defense. Of course, I’m hearing rumors of Benoit going back to Europe, but if he ended up in Charlotte, I’d be incredibly happy.
Schedule rumors and realignment:
Many feared that realignment might mean the end of interconference play. Thanks to a buddy (@MarkRAndrews) on Twitter, I got a glimpse at what teams the still-unnamed St. John’s team is going to play. They will face two western teams (Toronto and Hamilton) eight times each, and won’t play all 14 Eastern opponents. I think this leaves hope for us Checkers fans who still want to see some of the Eastern teams we faced during our inaugural season. Hopefully, we find out sooner than later what the verdict is going to be!
Thoughts to ponder:
- I have a blank, black Checkers third jersey in my closet. I hate blank jerseys. But I have no idea who’s name or number to put on it. Suggestions?
- Has everyone bought their tickets to the Hurricanes/Jets preseason game? I’m excited about where I’m sitting… in the GOOD seats at center ice, as opposed to the cheap-os I usually sit in (though I did upgrade from the five hole section this year!)!
- Coming in a few days, a Q&A with the guys over at Admiral’s Roundtable. They’ve got some great insight on their city, team and division. Look for it mid-week!