Flyers sign winger from Swedish league

ASSOCIATED PRESS Pierre-Edouard Bellemare , playing for France against Sweden at the world championships in May.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Pierre-Edouard Bellemare , playing for France against Sweden at the world championships in May.
Posted: June 13, 2014

AFTER STRIKING gold last summer with free-agent forward Michael Raffl, the Flyers have once again turned to Sweden in an attempt to fill a hole on their roster.

The Flyers announced the signing of French left winger Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to an NHL contract yesterday, according to general manager Ron Hextall.

Bellemare, 29, is a native of Paris. He has spent the last five seasons skating in Sweden's top league with Skelleftea AIK, capturing two consecutive championships.

Bellemare likely stood out to the Flyers' scouting staff last month at the world championships, when he skated alongside Dallas Stars forward Antoine Roussel. In a shootout, he helped France defeat Canada for the first time in his federation's history.

The Flyers noticed Raffl with Austria last May at the same tournament.

Bellemare collected eight points in eight games in the tournament.

Last season in Skelleftea, Bellemare notched 20 goals and 15 assists for 35 points in 52 games. He tied for 19th in league scoring with former Flyers defensive prospect Patrik Hersley. In the playoffs, Hersley netted 14 points in 14 games.

Using his speed and awareness, Raffl jumped directly to the NHL from the Allsvenskan in Sweden, a league a tier lower than Bellemare's.

Terms of Bellemare's deal were not available.

Couturier recovering

Forward Sean Couturier is recovering from abdominal surgery, the Flyers revealed yesterday.

Hextall said Couturier underwent surgery last Friday. He already has begun rehabbing at the team's practice facility in Voorhees and is expected to be fully recovered in 5 to 6 weeks.

Couturier, 21, netted a career-high 39 points in 82 games this season but went without a single point in seven playoff games against the Rangers. He embarks on a 2-year, $3.5 million contract in October.

Slap shots

Florida general manager Dale Tallon confirmed yesterday at the GM meetings in New York that he is "very open" to dealing the No. 1 overall pick ahead of June 27's draft at the Wells Fargo Center . . . New Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford revealed other managers "came after him" yesterday inquiring about his players . . . It appears former Flyers coach Peter Laviolette will finally be united with Norris Trophy finalist Shea Weber. Nashville GM David Poile reiterated that he is not dealing Weber. "Why wouldn't we build our team around him?" Poile asked.


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