“I am very happy with the transaction. Nicolas Beaudin offered this simple reaction in a text message with The newspaper a few hours after the shock of a first trade in the NHL.
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Photo archives, AFP
Quebec defender Nicolas Beaudin, who failed to find his place with the Blackhawks, will try to relaunch his career in Laval.
For the second time in a few months, the general manager of the Canadian, Kent Hughes, has found a dance partner with his counterpart in Chicago, Kyle Davidson. In a more minor pact than Kirby Dach’s on draft day, Montreal once again moved with the Blackhawks by acquiring 23-year-old defenseman Beaudin.
The price to pay to obtain the Québécois was not exorbitant. Forward Cameron Hillis, who ended up with the Trois-Rivières Lions in the ECHL, is now a member of the Hawks organization.
A need for change
On paper, the Habs have added an intriguing prospect to their roster. Former first-round pick, 27e in total, of the Blackhawks in 2018, Beaudin played 22 games on the Bettman circuit; one in 2019-20, 19 in 2020-2021 and two in 2021-2022.
Described as a defenseman with offensive potential, Beaudin has spent most of his time with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL for the past three seasons.
He appeared in three games this season at Rockford, recording one assist.
During the most recent schedule, Beaudin had 16 points in 66 games (2 goals, 14 assists).
“He needed a change of scenery, he didn’t seem to fit into the plans of the new management of the Hawks, recognized a recruiter from the Western Conference. He watched games from the stands last year in the American League. »
The Blackhawks, even though they find themselves in a reconstruction phase, called him up in January to play a game during which he spent only 1 min 11 s on the ice. In his last outing in the NHL, on January 6, against the Arizona Coyotes, Beaudin had put the skates on the ice for only two appearances.
“He had found it difficult mentally, it was like a sledgehammer he had received during this match, imagined André Ruel, one of Beaudin’s agents. At the end of the 2020-2021 season, Nicolas had played for Canada at the World Championship. He imagined himself with the Hawks the following season, but the plan did not go as he hoped. »
The former Drummondville Voltigeurs, in the QMJHL, will now have the mission of putting his career back on track with the Laval Rocket.
Head coach Jean-François Houle will focus on another fullback with great potential. With Justin Barron, Corey Schueneman, Otto Leskinen, Mattias Norlinder and Madison Bowey, the Rocket will have no shortage of ammo on the blue line.
« It’s a new start for Nic, » noted Ruel. He will remain patient, he will want to make his place with the Rocket and earn the trust of the organization. Even if he goes to the American League, he will want to prove that he can play, that he can get an important role. He has no expectations to play in the NHL this year, he just wants to get back on track. »