Nathan Beaulieu a Likely Trade Bait

Beaulieu

Young defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is full of promise and he has already shown some flashes of greatness, although not quite often enough yet. He is a great skater with some good flair offensively and standing at 6’2”, he does have the physique to play the position.

Picked 17th overall in the first round of the 2011 NHL Draft, Beaulieu is the most logical choice to eventually take over Andrei Markov’s role on the team when the veteran defenseman’s contract expires after the 2016-17 season.

Like a few others this season, the young defenseman made the news for the wrong reasons however, as a video of he and Christian Thomas came out while they were partying at a local club. Ironically soon after, Thomas was traded and the next game, Beaulieu was watching from the pressbox. There is no doubt that the organisation is frowning at such behaviour, particularly when the team is in a prolonged slump. In addition, this wasn’t the first time that Beaulieu found himself in trouble that way as he and his father Jacques plead guilty of assault charges placed against them which stemmed from an altercation at a house party in April 2013.

News and reports that GM Marc Bergevin is actively looking for offensive help up front are plastered all over the internet and in the media and from what we’re hearing and reading, he is looking for a top-6 forward. We know that he wants Jonathan Drouin really badly but as we discussed previously, it is unlikely that Steve Yzerman wants to trade him within the division.

So if Bergevin is looking for a young quality forward who can contribute on the top-6 with the Canadiens, he will have to pay as those guys don’t come cheap. When you look at the team’s depth chart, it is easy to notice that the team’s deepest position is on defense and when you talk quality, Beaulieu is likely the one every other team wants.

Oh it would hurt to lose Beaulieu, no doubt. But when we look at the way Mark Barberio has been playing since being called up, he may have shown the organisation that he is NHL ready and that he could take some of the pressure off Markov and provide some offensive upside on the left side.

Barberio (25) has played nine games so far with the Canadiens, accumulating two points with a differential of minus – 1. During that same nine-game stretch, Beaulieu (23) also has two points and his differential is minus – 4.

So if the Canadiens were to sacrifice Beaulieu to get help up front, the team should be stronger after the trade as long as another roster player isn’t included in the deal. The reason is simple: the step down between Beaulieu and Barberio is a lot lesser than the gain from obtaining a top-6 goals’ scorer who will help not only at even strengths, but on a struggling powerplay.

Brian Wilde revealed earlier that the Canadiens made a serious offer for Jonathan Drouin and as anticipated, it doesn’t look like Steve Yzerman will take the bait. Something tells me that Bergevin will be moving on to his plan “B” and that something should come up prior to Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. I would keep a close eye on Edmonton. Stay tuned.

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