After a couple of forwards in our rankings, we jump back to the blueline with the 41st ranked prospect in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Nicolas Beaudin is a fantastic puck mover who loves to setup his teammates for good chances or one-timers. He has great awareness and read of the play that is displayed through his ability to move the puck quickly.
He appears to know where he wants the puck to go before it even gets to him and it’s just a matter of him waiting for the lane to open. He is calm with the puck and patiently waits for things to unfold around him.
With those skills at the forefront, Nicolas Beaudin checks in at the 41st spot.
- Age/Birthdate:17.94/ October 7, 1999
- Birthplace:Chateauguay, QC, CAN
- Frame:5-foot-11/ 172 lbs
- Draft Year Team:Drummondville Voltigeurs(QMJHL)
- QMAAA Champion
- Telus Cup Silver Medal
- QMJHL Second All-Star Team
Beaudin was selected in the third round of the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft with the 39th overall pick.
He split the following season between the QMAAA and QMJHL before making the leap to full-time QMJHL action in 2016-17.
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Beaudin stands out in terms of involvement percentage, SEAL, shots per game, and XLS%.
It’s clear he was a huge part of the Drummondville offence and was their powerplay qurterback. There were some concerns about the amount of red in the event tracker but he did end the year with a GF% of 57.7%. It was just high event hockey with him on the ice and then he did his damage on the powerplay.
That defensive side of the game is an area that he can work on to get to the next level.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
For the most part, Beaudin made the players around him better while producing at a high rate for his team. He saw almost every forward regularly as he drove the offence.
His GF% was below a few of his teammates but it’s likely due to the fact that he just played so much.
That expected TOI chart in the 5-on-5 points per hour rate is astounding. He saw a dip in the early parts of the second half of the season and then skyrocketed as the season closed out and into the playoffs. He was dominant as the season wound down and was being rewarded with more and more ice time. The coaching staff clearly trusted him and were relying on him to generate offence and is worth nothing that type of ice time is really impressive for player in their draft season.
He ended the playoffs with three goals and eight assists in ten games.
An impressive 37.7% of comparable players went onto becoming NHL regulars with an expected production of 27 points per 82 games played. The closest comparable players aren’t fantastic but it does provide an encouraging outlook for him.
As Curtis Joe from Elite Prospects outlines further – we always talk about how large players who use their size to the advantage but on the other side of the spectrum is Beaudin. He isn’t small by any means, measuring in at 5’11”, but he is able to use that smaller body to be elusive and quick on his feet. His mobility, edge work, and speed is among the better players in this draft class and he uses those skills to dictate his teams offence.
Beaudin is a fanastic puck mover and is constantly putting his teammates in great positions to score. He can be really calm with the puck and is able to sauce the puck well. On the flip side, he can be aggressive and assertive in forcing his opponents to make mistakes in the offensive zone. That can be through lane adjustments, walking the line, or attacking the centre of the ice. It keeps his opponents on their toes.
The Chateauguay native is a smart, offensive defenceman who can create in offence as he so chooses and at multiple speeds.
I’ve found his defensive play to be good as he is able to use all those offensive skills in his own zone. He does have some issues with stronger players that are able to push through him. Those strength issues are present in the offensive zone when he is engaged along the boards in containment situations, but he is able to get away with there more due to his puck movements.
Furthermore, I’ve found his seperation to be too much at times. Given that he is such a great skater, he could very well cut down that space and then stay with them easily.
Although strength is an issue, Beaudin is active with his feet and stick and is able to break up lanes and get the puck out really quickly.
There are some concerns that his offensive game won’t fully translate to professional hockey but there is so much to like about that side of the game that I think there will be enough positive things about his to calm those concerns. As evidenced by his coaching staff leaning on him heavily, he can play a full 200 foot game while pushing the puck in the right direction. He skates very well, moves the puck exceptionally, and can be a breakout machine. He is the epitomy of the new age defenceman.
His XLS% presents good value, even in the early parts of the 2nd round, and ranks among the best of the defencemen in this draft class.
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From Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
Nicolas Beaudin is a diminutive yet cunning defenceman 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. 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 defenceman that understands his own game well and ever seeks to expand upon his strengths.