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Pierre-Edouard Bellemare is your new Flyers alternate captain

Or assistant captain. Whatever you wanna call it.

Winnipeg Jets v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Flyers signed Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a questionable two-year contract extension yesterday, which was a meaningful thing that shows how the Flyers overvalue this particular fourth-line player.

Here’s a less-meaningful thing that also shows how much the Flyers overvalue Bellemare:

(Since when is “assistant” captain a thing? I’ve always called it “alternate” captain? Is this a debate we need to have?)

Bellemare seems like a wonderful dude and a great guy in the locker room, and ultimately the ‘A’ on a sweater doesn’t really mean a darn thing. Bellemare is already part of the team’s “leadership” group so this really isn’t a huge deal on its own.

I do worry, however, about both the contract that the Flyers gave to Bellemare yesterday and what this ‘A’ means longer-term. Bellemare is a fourth-line player, and as his position on the fringe of the NHL roster dictates, he could theoretically be replaced by a young kid or could be a healthy scratch at any point. When warranted of course, but sometimes those moves are warranted.

Bellemare is already one of the worst-scoring forwards in hockey, and while scoring isn’t necessarily his role ... I don’t know, it’s not far-fetched to imagine a world in which we’d rather have a skilled young player from Lehigh Valley on the fourth line over him, right? I’m not crazy for seeing that as a possibility in the next two seasons?

But how often do you hear about teams scratching a player with a letter on his chest? Or sending that player to the AHL? Or ... I don’t know, leaving them unprotected in an expansion draft.

That’s the biggest thing I keep coming back to: with an ‘A’ on his sweater and a new two-year contract in his back pocket, can you imagine Bellemare being left unprotected in the expansion draft? The Flyers will almost certainly protect Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn and (as required by his no-movement clause) Valtteri Filppula. That leaves one more spot for a forward to be protected with Michael Raffl, Dale Weise, Nick Cousins, Mat Read, Scott Laughton and Bellemare.

Could this mean they are about to use that final spot on Bellemare? I’m just thinking out loud here, but I think it’s worth the thought.