Is this the year where Nathan Beaulieu makes good on his draft position and steps up to the plate? Or will we see more erratic play in a season cut short by injury again?
Beaulieu looked the part in the first 30 games of the season, reaching 10 points as he seamlessly fit into the system of the best team in the league. While he’s always been brimming with potential, his confidence seemed to finally catch up to his talent.
Then injuries began to unravel and ultimately end his campaign and he never regained the early season swagger he had built. In his defence, the team around him imploded as well. It was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde season for the young #18 overall pick, but we can use that analogy for nearly every player on that roster.
Season Stats: GP 64, G 2, A 17, PTS 19, +/- -6, PIM 55, PPG 1, SHG 0, GWG 0, SOG 74, ATOI 17:27
4 Year Averages
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are pro-rating all of 2012-13’s numbers over a typical 82-game year.)
Who knows? Can he break into the top-4 and possibly be one piece of the top line pairing? Or is he relegated to third-line pairing and possibly watch some games from the stands?
The HabsWorld writers shared their two cents on what the defence pairings could resemble, and I thought that Beaulieu would get first crack at the top pairing with Shea Weber. That’s based on Markov/Petry making up the second pairing and no other defenceman in our ranks being capable of slotting into the top pairing aside from Beaulieu.
If I’m right and he does get that position and keeps it, then his offensive value rises. As a potential set-up man for Weber’s shot, he could get his hands down on a lot of first and second assists. Not to mention the power play time he’ll likely be receiving.
Now whether that’s time on the PP1 or PP2 is anyone’s guess. Markov feeding Weber is a nightmare scenario for everyone. The defending team will naturally get bombarded but a blocked shot or smart clearance by the defending team means a foot race neither will likely win.
Ultimately, and obviously, his stat line will depend on where he plays. Personally, I think he’s got a spot to lose on the top pairing and will be making assumptions based on that. He’s looking like a ‘ride him while he’s hot’ free agent pick up in most leagues.