Lightning’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare hopes to make most of return to Stanley Cup final

TAMPA BAY, FL – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare had his choice of teams when it came time to decide where he wanted to continue his career last offseason.

Coming off a second-round playoff ouster following a Presidents’ Trophy-winning season with the Avalanche, the veteran forward heard from multiple teams interested in signing him.

Driving the bus: Bolts’ unique fourth line has found instant chemistry

TAMPA BAY, FL – “I don’t know what to call our line – maybe the ‘School Bus,’ because we’re all carrying each other.”

It was forward Pat Maroon who coined the nickname for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s fourth line, a group that has remained intact for nearly the entire 2021-22 season. The trio consists of Maroon and two players who signed with Tampa Bay in free agency last summer, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Corey Perry.

Smith, Cole and Bellemare Listed Among Top 10 Most Underrated Players of the 2021-22 NHL Season

Every team has a player or players that, despite having a strong season, do not get the recognition they deserve. These are the less talked about players whose play has helped their team have success this season. Here are the top-10 underrated players of the 2021-22 season.

10) Craig Smith, Boston Bruins

Craig Smith has been a welcome addition to the Boston Bruins’ lineup the last two seasons as he has helped provide solid bottom-six scoring for the team. He has 29 even-strength points this season in 62 games and has helped them outscore the opposition 41-34 when he has been on the ice. Most importantly, he has shown he can play up and down the lineup having success in 178 minutes playing on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

As for Smith’s analytics, they are amongst the best on the Bruins. He has a 55.40% Corsi at even strength along with a 57.77% shots for percentage and a 55.20% high danger chances for percentage. Lastly, he isn’t afraid to play physically, as he has 80 hits this season. The 32-year-old has been a force in 2021-22 and the Bruins’ third line of Trent Frederic, Charlie Coyle and himself should cause havoc for the opposition once the postseason begins.

9) Ian Cole, Carolina Hurricanes

Ian Cole is having one of the best seasons of his career for the Hurricanes this year. The 33-year-old defenceman has 18 points this season and is less than 30 minutes of even-strength time on ice from passing 1,000 minutes for the season. He is a versatile defenceman who has shown he can play not just with a rotating cast of partners, but also on both sides of the ice as the left-shot defenceman has played over 200 minutes on the right side.

This season, Cole has a 56.74% Corsi while the Hurricanes have outscored opponents 43 to 33 at even strength. Lastly, he has thrown 93 hits while blocking 86 shots. Carolina has a very deep team, and the two-time Stanley Cup winner is a big reason why their defensive group is one of the best in the entire NHL.

8) Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Tampa Bay Lightning

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare centers one of, if not the best fourth line in the NHL, playing alongside Corey Perry and Patrick Maroon. His work shorthanded has Tampa as a top-10 penalty-killing team in the league, and at even strength, the Lightning have only allowed 17 total goals in the 770 minutes of ice time he has played this season. He has become a premier shut-down center in the league and is one of its best defensive forwards this season.

While Bellemare is known for his defensive play, the Lightning have done well in the offensive zone with him on the ice as well. Tampa has scored 35 goals at even strength, with him collecting 16 even strength points on the season. Lastly, he has been one of their best faceoff men all season, recording a 51.4% win percentage. If the Lightning have eyes on capturing a third straight Stanley Cup, he will play a key role in the process.

Lightning sign forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to two-year contract

TAMPA BAY, FL – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year, one-way contract worth $1 million AAV, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.

Bellemare, 36, skated in 53 games last season for the Colorado Avalanche, posting nine goals and 11 points to go along with 21 penalty minutes. The 6-foot, 198-pound forward tied his career best with nine goals last season. He finished the regular season scoring in back-to-back games for Colorado. Bellemare also appeared in 10 playoff games for the Avs in 2021, tallying three assists.

Bellemare, Larkin and Turris Nominated for King Clancy Memorial Trophy

NEW YORK, NY – The National Hockey League today announced the 31 team nominees for the 2020-21 King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is presented “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”

The nominees were selected by their respective NHL teams. The winner will be chosen by a committee of senior NHL executives led by Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. The selection committee will apply the following criteria in determining the finalists and winner:

* Clear and measurable positive impact on the community
* Investment of time and resources
* Commitment to a particular cause or community
* Commitment to the League’s community initiatives
* Creativity of programming
* Use of influence; engagement of others

Outdoor rivalry games never easy, but ‘so much fun’ for Bellemare

LAKE TAHOE, CA – When Pierre-Edouard Bellemare steps on to the ice this weekend during the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe, he’ll use an extra moment to take it all in.

“I’m a kid from France. It comes down to that,” the Avalanche forward told NBC Sports this week. “Where I come from, how often will I have the chance to play outdoors? Another game in the NHL is huge. I never thought I was going to be here.”

Bellemare and the Avalanche will play the Golden Knights Saturday afternoon (3 p.m. ET, NBC) on a rink built on the 18th fairway of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort Golf Course. The Bruins and Flyers will play Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on the same sheet with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background.

Vegas haunted by ex-teammate Bellemare in rout by Avalanche

LAS VEGAS, NV – The Colorado Avalanche  schooled the Knights for the second time this season, emerging with a 7-3 victory at T-Mobile Arena.

Ex-Golden Knights center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored twice to lead the Avalanche (23-11-3). Colorado, which has the second-most points in the Western Conference with 49, has outscored the Knights 13-4 in their two meetings. The Knights (20-14-6) allowed six goals in the first game before giving up a season-high seven Monday.

Avalanche signs defensive forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

DENVER, CO – In its third move of the day, the Avalanche on Monday signed veteran French forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, 34, who is defensive/faceoff specialist from the Vegas Golden Knights.

Bellemare, who joined the NHL at age 29 with the Philadelphia Flyers, was signed to a two-year deal worth $3.6 million ($1.8 million cap hit). He was an expansion-draft acquisition for Vegas, and played in 72 and 76 games in each of the Knights’ first two seasons (just 12 combined goals).

Bellemare will help replace center Carl Soderberg in faceoffs and the penalty kill. Soderberg was traded to Arizona for defenseman Kevin Connauton last week.

Golden Knight Bellemare’s family connects with Comprehensive Cancer Centers

LAS VEGAS, NV – It wasn’t difficult for Las Vegans to get behind their Golden Knights during the first-year team’s incredible, improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals. And the community’s whole-hearted acceptance of the Knights allowed the city’s newest residents to get comfortable quickly.

“We realized very early on how important the team was to this community,” said forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, a native of Paris suburb Le Blanc-Mesnil who played for three seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers before Vegas grabbed him in last year’s expansion draft. “You’d go to the store and see all these people wearing Golden Knights gear and it just made us all feel unified.”

Bellemare’s first year in Las Vegas was just as special off the ice as he and his wife, Hannah, welcomed their first child, Leandre, in January, giving new meaning to the Knights’ mantra of being “Vegas born.”