Washington GM George McPhee
has given coach Bruce Boudreau
another center to use where he sees fit by acquiring Eric Belanger
from the Minnesota Wild
in exchange for a second-round pick in this year's Entry Draft.
Belanger, 32, had 13 goals and 22 assists in 60 games for the Wild this season. He is seventh in the NHL with a 57.6 faceoff percentage.
The Capitals now have some serious depth down the middle with Belanger joining Nicklas Backstrom
, Tomas Fleischmann
, Brendan Morrison
, David Steckel
and Boyd Gordon
It'll be interesting to see how Boudreau uses this depth to his advantage. He has the option of moving Fleischmann back to the wing, though during the Capitals' winning streak he fit in as the second-line center between Alexander Semin
and Brooks Laich
Belanger also gives Boudreau a second option for defensive zone faceoffs. Steckel has proven to be one of the best at that craft, but Belanger can spell him. Boudreau coached Belanger when both were with the AHL's Lowell Lock Monsters from 1999-2001.
Earlier in the day the Capitals acquired Scott Walker
from Carolina for a seventh-round pick.
Contact Dan Rosen at email@example.com