Sep 24, 2011; Montreal, QC, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (40) skates with the puck against Ottawa Senators during the second period at the Bell Center. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-US PRESSWIRE

Nate The Great Has What it Takes

When the Montreal Canadiens selected Nathan Beaulieu with the 17th-overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, they knew they had snatched a key piece of the puzzle that was missing in the organization.

Beaulieu was a bit of a slider in the draft and the Canadiens were more than thrilled.  Since the draft, he has done nothing but impress Montreal with his elite and dominant play in the junior hockey level.

Beaulieu, 19, has played his entire junior career in the QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs for four seasons. Over the course of his junior stretch, he has recorded 158 points in 233 games. His ‘Q’ resume is quite outstanding, having won two President Cup championships along with a Memorial Cup in 2011. Beaulieu was nominated for the Mike Bossy Trophy in 2011 and was named to the Memorial Cup All-Star team as well.

He was also one of the many Montreal prospects, who represented their country in the annual IIHF World junior Championship this past winter. Beaulieu along with fellow Habs prospect, Michael Bournival, led Team Canada to a Bronze Medal victory. He finished the tournament with two points in six games and racked up 14 minutes in penalties.

The 6-foot-2 defender brings ample amount of talent to the Habs’ blue line. He is known for his quick feet, confidence, puck moving ability and most importantly his leadership. Beaulieu has A reputation for his determination and has no problem lifting the team up on his shoulder in tight game situations. He loves the offensive side of the game and is a natural power-play quarterback.

The native of Strathroy, Ont. continues to mature and improve. Playing for a solid team, like the Sea Dogs has worked out to Beaulieu’s advantage as he was given opportunity to round out his game without being relied upon too heavily. He was awarded the chance to improve and work on things, game by game without heavy pressure on his shoulders. This was clearly a key element, in Beaulieu’s development and junior progression.

Beaulieu has also drawn many comparisons in game play to P.K. Subban, who may very well be his teammate in the near future. Both play an offensively minded game and have the on ice swagger to throw players off their game in a heartbeat. They would deliver a frightening power-play combination to the National Hockey League’s clubs and could be a dominant force for years.

All in all, Beaulieu is going to be a huge factor in the Canadiens’ future. He brings young and flashy talent to the historic club and will surely boost the team’s defensive game. Although, he may not make the professional leap this season, Beaulieu may certainly be the centre of attention in Hamilton, in the AHL. He is the ultimate package for Montreal as he is a leader with the desire for victory.

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Tags: 2011 NHL Draft Habs 2012 Off-season Montreal Canadiens Nathan Beaulieu Prospects

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