Colorado Avalanche Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Excelling Early

Pierre-Edouard Bellemere
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It wasn’t seen as a big deal when the Colorado Avalanche signed Pierre-Edouard Bellemare from the Vegas Golden Knights this past off-season. The 34-year-old was projected to play on the team’s fourth line as well as contribute to the penalty kill. However, he has turned into something more than that early in the season and is shaping up to be a fan favourite.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Starts Hot in Colorado

Bellemare came into the league with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2014-15 after years of play around Europe. He was never a high-scoring option with the Flyers or the Golden Knights. His best season came in 2017-18 when he scored six goals and 16 points in 72 games. Bellemare was a terrible possession forward with Philadelphia with a Corsi For of just 46.3% in his three seasons. He rebounded in Vegas and finished with much better possession numbers in two years compared to his three as a Flyer. The Golden Knights style, emphasizing speed and possession, clearly suited Bellemare.

NHL free agent frenzy

Colorado acquired Bellemare largely to shore up the fourth line. Coach Jared Bednar made numerous adjustments to the group last year but nothing seemed to stick. Player health played a part in that as enticing prospect Vladislav Kamenev suffered serious injuries the past two seasons. Bellemare had never missed more than 10 games in his first five NHL seasons. He also has a career faceoff percentage of 49.7 which is ideal for someone who spends most of his time in the defensive zone.

What to Expect Moving Forward

Bellemare has made the most of his first five games in Colorado. He has played most often with fellow grinders Matt Calvert and Valeri Nichushkin. Over 72% of his starts have come in the defensive which is third among Avalanche forwards behind only Nichushkin and Matt Nieto. Bellemare has also managed to start every game over Kamenev despite winning just 37.5% of his faceoffs. He has made up for poor peripheral and advanced stats with a respectable two goals in only 12:02 of ice time. It took him only three games to score twice compared to the 16 games it took in 2018-19. Bellemare’s upside is limited but he has certainly proven he can contribute to a red-hot team.

 

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