MONTREAL– The Montreal Canadiens acquired defenceman Nicolas Beaudin in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday morning in exchange for forward Cam Hillis.
Beaudin was Chicago’s 2018 first-round pick, hearing his name called 27th overall at the Draft.
Hockey Prospecting had Beaudin at 50/50 to be an NHLer until the COVID 2021 season when he put up a huge point total in a small sample. it's worth a C-level prospect for MTL to put a couple years of development into him to see if he can reclaim his potential pic.twitter.com/4zGTdX7q4H
— Michael Clifford (@SlimCliffy) October 26, 2022
The Chateauguay native has played 22 games in the NHL, scoring two goals and adding four assists. His underlying numbers with the Blackhawks weren’t particularly exciting, mostly falling on the wrong side of 50 percent, but it’s worth noting he only played a very limited number of games, giving us a small sample size to work with. Beaudin did have good shot metric numbers when compared to the numbers produced by his teammates.
He’s described as a fantastic passer, owing to his great vision and high-end situational awareness. Beaudin was placed on waivers earlier this season, but the Canadiens preferred to send a contract back in a trade rather than simply claiming the defenceman.
Beaudin played the majority of his Junior career with the Drummondville Voltigeurs, finishing his last two seasons with a point-per-game pace, including a fantastic 2017-18 campaign that ended with 12 goals and 57 assists in 68 games. Beaudin has played 137 games in the AHL, scoring 7 goals and 35 assists in the process.
Cam Hillis was chosen in the same year as his counterpart, going in the third round, 66th overall to the Canadiens. Hillis, who did make his NHL debut last season, was one of the few players who have made the jump directly from the ECHL to the NHL.
He started the 2022-23 campaign back in the ECHL, playing for the Trois-Rivieres Lions, where he scored two goals in three games.
With Joel Edmundson nearing a return to play and Beaudin joining the fold, the Canadiens will have a few difficult decisions to make when it comes to sidelining one of their current defencemen. The blueline lacks experience, but it’s the rookies who have been putting up the best overall performances. Most notably, Arber Xhekaj has emerged as an interesting option on the blueline, serving up several examples as to why he should remain in the lineup.