It had been expected for a little while but the Habs have officially moved Nathan Beaulieu, sending him to Buffalo in exchange for Buffalo’s 3rd rounder (68th overall) in next Saturday’s draft.
The deal was made less than two hours before the Expansion Draft trade freeze and will allow the Canadiens to protect a different blueliner with their third protection slot (one of Jordie Benn, Brandon Davidson, or Alexei Emelin).
Beaulieu was the 17th overall pick back in 2011 and had spent his entire NHL career with the Canadiens until now. In 2016-17, he played in 74 games, scoring four goals and added 24 assists for a career high 28 points. He also averaged a career high 19:39 per game in ice time.
However, his postseason ended on a sour note as he was scratched in their final game against the Rangers which further fuelled speculation that he would be dealt in the near future.
All of a sudden, Montreal’s left side defensive depth has taken a major hit with Beaulieu gone as well as top prospect Mikhail Sergachev who was dealt in exchange for Jonathan Drouin back on Thursday. Accordingly, it wouldn’t be surprising to see another move made this summer to bring in a notable left side defender with several years of team control.