Nathan Beaulieu spoke to the media this past Monday on Day 1 of the Canadiens Development Camp. When asked about what he can show the coaches by attending the Camp Beaulieu said, “I feel like my training’s gone so well, so far this year. I was happy to come here and show what I’ve done so far, and just show that there’s lots of improvement to be made and I’m making a lot of steps forward.”
“I’m ready; I gotta make a big step,” Beaulieu said. He faces the expectations of proving his worth to the Habs in the upcoming NHL season. The 21 year-old defenseman was drafted 17th overall in the 2011 NHL draft by Montreal. In the three years since, he has gotten 30 games under his belt — 23 in the regular season and 7 in the playoffs. Beaulieu is also entering the final year of his entry-level deal, per CapGeek. We will see how much that motivates him.
Beaulieu is no odd man out. Most prospects do take the time like he has. Players develop at different rates and enter the league when they’re ready. But now after Marc Bergevin has placed the reins of the Canadiens in the hands of the young, it’s a “ready or not, here I come” situation with Beaulieu.
He will indeed be on the Canadiens starting lineup for the first game of the 2014-15 season. He will be watched closely and anxiously in the first few games to see if he can be trusted on the blue line.
Beaulieu has gotten bigger, now weighing in at a solid 6’2″ 194. He is an offensive defenseman but in today’s NHL, defenders have to be two-way players. If a defender isn’t strong in his own end he’s kaput — especially under Michel Therrien. If he can prove to be reliable in the defensive zone, he will be able to maximize his great puck-moving ability. He is a great skater who can, and needs to make a big impact this year.
Say a prayer as we head into the fall that Nathan Beaulieu doesn’t turn out to be a first-round bust.
Beaulieu showed some signs of strong and weak play in the regular season and playoffs. We have yet to truly see what this kid can do. It had better be good, because the torch has been passed and it’s youth’s time to shine.