Last season, Eric Belanger was one of several players the Capitals acquired at the NHL trade deadline. Now, it appears he's going to be sticking around, though everyone is being very secretive about it, according to James Mirtle from The Globe And Mail in Toronto.
According to multiple sources, free agent centre Eric Belanger has a one-year deal in waiting to return to the Washington Capitals. The contract is believed to be a slight raise over the $1.75-million he made last season, to $1.85-million.
What's interesting is that he has been told not to announce where he's going, leading to Belanger telling the French language newspaper Le Soleilon Wednesday that he is about to sign but can't say where due to the fact the team he's headed to is working on a trade.
Why is Belanger being so coy about this? According to Mirtle, it's because the Capitals are trying to work out a trade that would send a forward out for a much-needed defensemen. It appears that Tomas Fleischmann could be the bait, and the target could be Toronto's Tomas Kaberle. However, Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke denied the rumors.
The one trade the hockey world is expecting in the next few days, meanwhile, is that of Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle, whose no-trade clause comes back into effect on Monday. While Washington was rumoured interested in him in the past, Leafs GM Brian Burke said they are not one of the 10 teams that have enquired about Kaberle's availability.
"We are not in discussions with the Capitals about Tomas Kaberle," Burke said. "Not once."
If that trade falls through, other targets could include Vancouver's Kevin Bieksa and Edmonton's Sheldon Souray. The Capitals are also front-runners for free agent Willie Mitchell, who has recovered from a concussion.