The Blackhawks had already addressed the defensive problems in the 2018 NHL Draft by selecting Adam Boqvist. Bowman decided to double down on defense. Chicago selected another defenseman, Nicolas Beaudin.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) June 23, 2018
Who Is Nicolas Beaudin?
Nicolas Beaudin is an 18-year-old left-handed defenseman who played for the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) last season. Beaudin is often praised for his skating, passing, and ice awareness. Curtis Joe of eliteprospects.com gives us his analysis on Beaudin,
“Nicolas Beaudin is a diminutive yet cunning defenSeman that is able to use his size to his advantage. His mobility is all but elite at this point; he primarily uses his speed to open up passing and shooting lanes in the offensive zone. With and without the puck he stays composed and in-position, allowing him to analyze situations effortlessly and make those calculated decisions. Defensively, he is assertive and, though he isn’t able to impose himself physically, he uses his vision and quickness to take away options and put pressure on the opposition.”
Joe also gives us some insight into Nicolas Beaudin’s intuition and natural instincts.
He plays a structured game offensively, and he does the little things right. His ability to recognize where the puck is, where it is going to be, and why it is going to be there is an indicator of his high-level hockey sense. When you put together skill, speed, and excellent decision-making as well as he does, that translates to on-ice productivity and power-play time. All-in-all, Nicolas Beaudin is an offensive defenseman that understands his own game well and ever seeks to expand upon his strengths.”
After reading the in-depth analysis on Nicolas Beaudin, I can start to see why Stan Bowman would have selected him. Quality defensemen are hard to come by, as everyone could see last season with the Blackhawks’ struggles. Bowman treated defensemen like Pokémon in this year’s draft. He wanted to “catch ’em all” and I think he did a pretty good job with that.
Nicolas Beaudin’s Resume
Nicolas Beaudin is 18 years old right now, so he does not really have an extensive history at this point. However, I can show you what he has done in his hockey career so far.
Beaudin has a knack for putting points on the board and improves every season. His last season with Drummondville was his best by far, as he tallied up 69 points (12G, 57A) with a 27 +/- rating in 68 games as a defenseman. Some forwards in the NHL can’t even put up that type of production. There were a lot of them on the Blackhawks’ roster last season.
Beaudin has a natural scoring ability that you simply cannot teach. His shot is very accurate and he always looks to create scoring chances for himself and his teammates. This could help the Blackhawks out, especially on the Power Play.
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) June 23, 2018
In this highlight reel from last season, you can clearly see just how much of a gamechanger Nicolas Beaudin can be. He has the full package on the offensive spectrum: skating, puckhandling, soft hands, great passing, ice awareness, and an accurate shot from anywhere on the ice. Keep your eyes on number 92.
Well, it looks like StanBo may have found a hidden gem at the end of the 1st Round in the draft. I have had some time to digest the Blackhawks’ 2018 1st Round draft picks and they are really starting to grow on me. Originally, I was upset that StanBo & Co. opted to go with Adam Boqvist over Oliver Wahlstrom with the 8th pick.
Although the Boqvist and Beaudin picks might not help the Blackhawks win now, they will definitely develop into some solid Top 4 defensemen. I am actually okay with the picks now that I’ve seen actual footage and read through tons of analyses on both players. I am just not sure that Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville will be around to see their vision through to the end.
Now that the defenseman position has been addressed, hopefully, StanBo & Co. will add some depth to the center position. Rounds 2-7 of the 2018 NHL Draft take place on Saturday, June 22 starting at 10 am CST.
Welcome to Chicago, Mr. Beaudin!