On Saturday afternoon, the Habs locked up another part of their blueline, signing Nathan Beaulieu to a two year contract. Although financial terms were not disclosed, Beaulieu’s deal will reportedly carry a cap hit of $1 million per season.
2014-15 was the first season where Beaulieu, a 1st rounder of the Canadiens in 2011, spent the majority of the time in the NHL. He suited up for 64 regular season games with the big club, collecting a goal and eight assists along with a +6 rating and 45 PIMS while playing 15:41 per game. He also played in five games in the postseason (recording one assist) but he missed seven postseason games because of a broken sternum. Beaulieu also picked up four points in eight games with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs when he was sent down to get some more playing time midway through the season.
The cap hit does seem a bit on the low side (personally, I envisioned a $1.25 M cap hit on a two year deal), especially since Beaulieu’s qualifying offer would have been for just shy of $875,000 on a one way contract for the upcoming season. While the breakdown of the deal is not yet confirmed, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this contract be backloaded somewhat to make his qualifying offer higher in two years time.
Beaulieu’s deal also likely sets a benchmark for the pending negotiations with Jarred Tinordi. Considering that he has only half of the NHL service time as Beaulieu, it’s reasonable to expect that Tinordi’s new contract will come in below that amount. (For reference purposes, his qualifying offer is $850,500 on a two-way deal.)
The contract now gives the Canadiens 37 players under contract for 2015-16 with an additional seven restricted free agents (though a couple of those may go unqualified). The team now has a little over $65 million in payroll committed to nineteen players for next season.