BUFFALO – The Sabres have acquired defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from the Montreal Canadiens for a third-round pick, 68th overall, in next week’s NHL draft, the team announced this afternoon.
The deal was announced about an hour before an NHL roster freeze for the upcoming expansion draft.
The Sabres need to improve their defense corps, so Jason Botterill’s first trade as general manager addressed his team’s biggest need. New coach Phil Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman, has a smooth-skating, puck-mover.
Housley helped transformed the Nashville Predators’ blue line into arguably the NHL’s best as an assistant, so perhaps he can help Beaulieu unlock his potential.
The Canadiens selected Beaulieu, 24, in the first round, 17th overall, in 2011. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound former junior hockey star has played 225 NHL games, compiling seven goals, 60 points and 152 penalty minutes.
Beaulieu will be a restricted free agent this summer. The Sabres likely won’t protect him in the expansion draft, so he could be claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights.