June 15, 1969 |
Saint-Georges, QC, CAN
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight||192 lb (87 kg; 13 st 10 lb)|
|Played for||Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders
Despite an excellent junior career with the Granby Bisons during which he twice topped 100 points, Bélanger was never selected in the NHL Entry Draft. He signed as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens in 1990, and immediately showed his talent, scoring 98 points for the Fredericton Canadiens of the American Hockey League.
Bélanger spent three seasons in the Montreal organization, but struggled to crack a deep, talented team full-time. He was recalled for 4 games in 1991–92, and received a 19-game stint in the NHL in 1992–93, during which he scored his first 4 NHL goals and added 2 assists for 6 points. He was on the team's roster for the 1993 playoffs and appeared in 9 games, helping Montreal win their 24th Stanley Cup.
Bélanger received his big break the next summer when he was exposed in the 1993 NHL Expansion Draft and claimed by the Florida Panthers. In Florida he received a chance to play regularly, and responded in fine fashion in 1993–94, posting 17 goals and a team-leading 33 assists for 50 points. He would follow up with another strong season in the lockout-shortened 1994–95 campaign, leading the Panthers with 15 goals and 29 points in 47 games.
In 1995–96, Bélanger was again amongst the Panthers' leading scorers when he was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline. He finished the season with 42 points including a career-high 20 goals, but struggled in Vancouver and was a healthy scratch in the playoffs.
Released by Vancouver, Bélanger signed with the Edmonton Oilers for the 1996–97 season, but he failed to crack their roster and appeared in only 6 games as an Oiler. This began a five-year stretch where he spent most of his time in the minors and bounced from organization to organization, seeing only brief stints of NHL action. The highlight of this period was a return to Montreal in 1999–2000, during which he played well and recorded 3 goals and 9 points in 16 games. A pointless 12-game stint with the New York Islanders in 2000–01 would effectively mark the end of his NHL career.
Bélanger spent the final four seasons of his career in Europe playing in Germany and Switzerland . In 2003–2004, he finished 2nd in scoring in the German DEL, and helped the Frankfurt Lions to the league championship. In 2004–2005 and 2005–2006 he was the top scorer of the EHC Biel before going to play for the Lausanne hockey club(2nd best stats) and is now playing for the CRS Express,
In 246 NHL games, Bélanger recorded 59 goals and 76 assists for 135 points, along with 56 penalty minutes.