According to Ryan Rishaug of TSN, the Edmonton Oilers have placed forward Eric Belanger on unconditional waivers with the intent of buying out his contract.
The move isn’t a surprising as Belanger’s name had been floating around as a potential compliance buyout option for the Oilers. With free-agent set to open tomorrow and the deadline to submit the buyout options later today, Craig MacTavish made the decision to part ways with the 35-year old.
With one-year remaining on his contract that was worth $1.75 million, Belanger will now become a free-agent and the Oilers can essentially allocate that salary cap money elsewhere.
Signed as a free-agent in 2011, Belanger spent the last two seasons with the Oilers but could never live up to his role of a third line center that could contribute offensively while playing a defensive role.
Injuries would cost the veteran some playing time this past season and last season, despite only missing four games, Belanger only managed to score 4 goals and 16 points.
The lockout may have hurt a player like Belanger, going scoreless through 26 games for the Oilers and only registering 3 assists despite his playing time staying consistent.
And so ends the Eric Belanger era in Edmonton which won’t leave many Oilers’ fans upset. Last month one of our daily polls was situated around which player the Oilers should use a buyout on and Belanger was the overwhelming favorite according to our readers.
Change was promised and change is happening, at least with this move. It’s another step to addressing the roster needs and now Mac-T can focus on shipping both Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff out of town and inking some free-agent needs.
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