The above picture is of Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Nathan Beaulieu hoisting the Memorial Cup this year. Beaulieu is listed at 6’3, 191lbs. and is said to be an offensive defenseman with a mean streak. I think that is right up the alley of what we would be looking for… well, really what any team should be looking for. I don’t think he’s been really garnering as much attention as I’d expect for a player possessing those kinds of talents though.
Beaulieu is currently ranked 5th for North American skaters by CSS, and 14th overall (includes all Euro and North American skaters) by ISS. So that said, I have a tough time believing that Beaulieu will be available at pick #19. He shouldn’t be. The Oilers are going to have to move that pick up if they have hopes of drafting him. I’m not sure if he’s really on our radar or not.
Beaulieu ended the season in the Q with 12 goals, 33 assists and 52 penalty minutes in 65 games for the Sea Dogs, ranking him first on his team for points by a d-man (12th in the league for defenseman). His 4 goals and 13 assists in 19 games was good for 3rd overall for defensemen in the 2011 playoffs, and he finished 2nd in d-man scoring in the Mastercard Memorial Cup (to me this isn’t too big of an achievement though, given the short tourney, but he recorded 1 goal and 2 assists in 4 games). Hockeyfights.com only lists him as having 4 fights in his QMJHL career, but they might be missing some. Chances are that this is about right though.
As for the scouting report, here is what they are saying:
NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Bordeleau
“He’ll be an offensive-defenseman … he’s a good skater, good puck-mover. He has a good shot and is very poised with the puck. He’s a veteran who has a lot of responsibilities for Saint John.”
Saint John Sea Dogs coach Gerard Gallant
“He’s gotten better, bigger and stronger, he’s playing a lot better defensively but he’s pressing for his points. He’s a guy who gets a lot of opportunities because he jumps into the rush very well.”
Bruins 2011 Draft Watch
Please read their blog post here. There are quite a few more quotes from scouts here worth looking at, including their own synopsis. I didn’t want to plunder their work though, so please read there.
Lastly, I’ll end things with a bit of caveat. Like the argument against Sea Dog teammate Jonathan Huberdeau, Beaulieu played on a stacked team. A good playoffs likely raised his stock, and perhaps above where it should be. Nathan Beaulieu didn’t finish in the top-10 in any of the NHL Combine tests, but it should be noted that his season didn’t end that long ago… so I wouldn’t be too concerned there.
Here’s a recent audio interview on the Oilers’ site from the 2011 NHL Draft Combine. I’d recommend listening, as it’s a decent interview.