Saturday, June 17, 2017

Nathan Beaulieu Jersey card

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a trade!

Indeed, in a move half designed to not lose him in the expansion draft for nothing and half because he does not fit with new/current Montréal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien's conception of a hockey team - as exemplified by the fact that he did not suit up for the team's elimination game against the New York Rangers last month - Nathan Beaulieu was sent to the Buffalo Sabres earlier today, in exchange for the 68th pick at this year's amateur draft.

At first glance, it is a step back to trade a player who was selected 17th overall (2011) for a 68th pick, but Beaulieu was supposed to be Andrei Markov's heir as top-pair defender on the left side and powerplay quarterback, yet at 38 years of age, apart from an excellent October on Shea Weber's part, Markov was - again - far and away the best defenseman on the Habs in 2016-17.

The Sabres get a low-risk, high-reward reclamation project who may thrive under new head coach Phil Housley - whose game Beaulieu seems to have modeled himself on. The Sabres immediately put Beaulieu on their protected list, proving they do plan on giving him a fair shot; this trade likely means Alexei Emelin is on his way out of Montréal and off to the Vegas Golden Knights. Honestly, I'd rather have lost Beaulieu for nothing than Emelin.

Ironically, this means GM Marc Bergevin, who always claimed to want to build via the draft,  has now traded away the team's 2009 (Louis Leblanc), 2010 (Jarred Tinordi), 2011 (Beaulieu) and 2016 (Mikhail Sergachev) first-round picks - all at low value - and is reportedly shopping its 2012 (Alex Galchenyuk) draft pick as well. Panic, much?

Here is a young Beaulieu, wearing his rookie #40 and the team's classic red (now-home) uniform, on card #ROOK-NB from Upper Deck's 2013-14 Black Diamond set and Double Diamond Jerseys sub-set:
It features two matching red jersey swatches that were worn in a rookie photo shoot.

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