The Buffalo Sabres have signed defenceman Nathan Beaulieu to a two-year deal worth $4.8 million or $2.4 million per season. The Sabres acquired Beaulieu in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens just prior to the NHL Expansion Draft. The Sabres gave up a third round pick in the deal. Beaulieu was a restricted free agent.
Nathan Beaulieu Signs with the Buffalo Sabres
Beaulieu was drafted 17th overall by the Canadiens in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He made his NHL debut in 2012-13, skating in six games with two assists. The next season he saw slightly more ice time, playing 17 games. Once again he tallied two assists before returning to the AHL.
In 2014-15 however, Beaulieu finally found himself in a top-six role. He played 64 games and scored his first career NHL goal, also adding eight helpers. The following season, he played in 64 games yet again, scoring twice and adding 17 assists for 19 points.
This past year with Montreal was his best to date. He played in a career-high 74 games, scoring a career-high four goals and 28 points in a more advanced role in the Canadiens’ lineup.
Over the past few seasons, Beaulieu has had some bright moments, playing a physical game. He can get in the way of an opposing player and force a break in the oncoming play. However, he struggles with consistency, as do most young players. He began the 2016-17 season on the top pairing with Shea Weber but fell to the bottom pairing and was even a healthy scratch at times. With Buffalo, Beaulieu can fill a bottom defensive pairing role. He can still play a great game, and just needs the time to mature.
MONTREAL, QC – APRIL 14: Nathan Beaulieu #28 of the Montreal Canadiens skates the puck against the New York Rangers in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 14, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the New York Rangers 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)