Feb 7, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Brett Bellemore (73) carries the puck against the Florida Panthers at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Florida Panthers 5-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Hurricanes: Ron Francis Making a Mistake Letting Brett Bellemore Test Free Agency

Per reports, Ron Francis, General Manager and Executive VP of the Carolina Hurricanes, will let a plethora of unrestricted free agents test the open market on July 1. Among that list is defenseman Brett Bellemore.

Brett Bellemore, 26, finished his first full season in the NHL in April. Being a defensive defenseman, Brett Bellemore was relied on heavily to shut down other team’s offenses.

Spending most of the season paired with Ron Hainsey, Brett Bellemore developed a great relationship with him on and off the ice. They played very well together and complimented each other well in a top-four role on the Carolina Hurricanes’ defense. Ron Hainsey signed a three-year, $8.5 million contract on June 24.

Brett Bellemore has played in just 72 NHL games throughout his career. He is a minus-3 in those games, which is actually very impressive considering he is used primarily in a defensive role.

Though he played well in many areas, Brett Bellemore thrived on the penalty kill in the 2013-2014 season. When Bellemore wasn’t on the ice in this situation, opponents had a 9.06 goals per 60 minutes rate. It was 4.81 when he was on the ice. He made an incredible difference on the penalty kill.

Brett Bellemore is a good player, but he is replaceable. He isn’t a top-two guy that fills an all-around role. He is strictly a defensive defenseman. That being said, it is much easier to keep the guys you have rather than going out and finding someone new.

The Carolina Hurricanes still have an opportunity to re-sign him, but in a very weak free agent class like this one, some teams may overpay for Brett Bellemore. That would put the Carolina Hurricanes in a tough situation, a situation they wouldn’t have had to deal with had they just resigned him prior to July 1.

Obviously, there could be stuff behind the scenes that we don’t know, but it doesn’t make much sense to let a guy like Brett Bellemore test the open market at this stage in his career. I guess we will see what Ron Francis and the Carolina Hurricanes’ front office does as we get closer and closer to July 1.

Tags: Brett Bellemore Carolina Hurricanes Free Agency

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