Just hours before the expansion draft protected list deadline, the Sabres acquired left-handed defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a third round pick.
Beaulieu, 24, appeared in 74 games with Montreal last year, notching four goals and 24 assists [28 points]. In 225 career games, Beaulieu has seven goals, 53 assists and 60 points.
Nicely done, Jason Botterill.
Beaulieu isn't a massive splash, but he's an upgrade for the Buffalo Sabres. He's not a first pair guy; however, he's a young, puck-moving defenseman who has potential.
Nathan Beaulieu's skating ability should fit in well with how Phil Housley will want the Sabres to play. Good spot for him.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 17, 2017
Beaulieu will likely start the season on the Sabres second or third pairing, depending on how the remainder of the offseason plays out.
My biggest takeaway was what this cost the Sabres:
A third round pick.
If it doesn't work out, who cares? This is a low-risk move for a guy who could prove to be a big help next season. He's a restricted free-agent so the Sabres will need to sign him to a new deal, but he likely won't require the Sabres breaking the bank.
This trade gives the Sabres some much-needed flexibility, but overall it's a move that makes a lot of sense. There is still a long way to go, but this is a good start.