|2017 Season||2017||July 1st Status|
|Nathan Beaulieu||D||24||74||4||28||$1 mil||0||RFA|
|2017 3rd Round Draft Pick|
The Montreal Canadiens must have identified a guy like Nathan Beaulieu as a player that was subject to the Golden Knights' eye, as they traded the young blueliner to Buffalo to get themselves a mid-round pick in return, instead of possibly losing him for nothing.
The 24-year old made strides for the Canadiens in the 2017 season, picking up 28 points in 74 games, making him a very serviceable player on the roster and even though he doesn't have a contract heading into the expansion draft period, there was some thought that the Golden Knights may use one of their 10 possible non-contract picks to pluck him from their ranks.
The Sabres, on the other hand, have some other assets in play, when it comes to the expansion draft, possibly a Matt Moulson up front or Josh Gorges on the blueline, maybe even Linus Ullmark in goal, a few choices possibly better suited for Vegas and they only game up a 3rd round pick to take on an NHL-ready player like Beaulieu.
This could also be a good salary cap move for the Canadiens, who needed to re-sign Beaulieu, on top of a kid like Alex Galchenyuk and/or a veteran like Alexander Radulov. Beaulieu probably wasn't going to come back to them at his previous rate of $1 million, a task better suited for a team like the Sabres, who had some assets to move in this sort of deal.
The Canadiens continue to show that they are not going to be standing still in this off-season and the acquisition of Jonathan Drouin and opening up some cap space in this deal for a couple of key young defensemen, is showing that they have a plan up their sleeve, but whether or not this is a plan worth getting behind is something we won't find out for sure, until the second week of April 2018, when the season is all said and done.