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Capitals vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Draft Profile: Nathan Beaulieu

Monday, 06.13.2011 / 10:00 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Draft Profile: Nathan Beaulieu
On each weekday between now and the first round of the NHL Entry Draft on June 24, we'll be profiling one of 11 players who could be chosen with the 12th overall pick by Carolina. Today's subject is Quebec league defenseman Nathan Beaulieu. Previously: Sven Bartschi. Also see: Hurricanes Draft History.


Nathan Beaulieu is an example of how draft-eligible players are still learning and improving, often making dramatic strides mid-season.

Paul Branecky
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The defenseman for the Memorial Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League entered the campaign with a high profile, but a slow start temporarily tempered expectations.

“By his own admission, he was trying to do too much early on,” said Hurricanes Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald. “To use his words, he was trying to get drafted in 20 games.”

After notching just 1 assist in the season’s first eight contests, a number below par for the offensive-minded defenseman, Beaulieu would eventually finish with a healthy 45 points (12g, 33a) over the course of his 65-game regular season. He produced at an even greater clip in the playoffs, scoring 17 points (4g, 13a) in 19 games, including 8 in a first-round sweep of Cape Breton.

“He all of the sudden realized that he had to reign it in and start changing his approach a little bit to not try and do too much,” said MacDonald. “That helped him and he got it on track.”

In its final rankings, the NHL’s Central Scouting Service had Beaulieu ranked as the second-highest North American defenseman behind Dougie Hamilton, who will probably not be available by the time the Hurricanes pick at No. 12. Beaulieu should be right in that mix, as he’s one of as many as four Saint John players who could be drafted in the first round. Five more teammates appear throughout the extended rankings.

As is the case with draft-eligible colleague Sven Bartschi, NHL teams will consider the extent to which a player contributed to or is a product of his team’s success. The Hurricanes believe Beaulieu, the Sea Dogs’ top-scoring blue liner, was a significant factor in his team’s excellent season and like the experience he gained along the way.

“When you’re part of a national championship team – it’s very difficult and it’s a long, grueling road to win,” said MacDonald. “You have to eliminate a lot of teams and endure the physical grind of playing all those games in a short period of time. It takes a toll on you but it also makes you mentally tough and stronger.”

Though regarded as more of a scorer in junior, the Hurricanes believe Beaulieu, who boasted a plus-44 plus/minus rating during the regular season, will develop into an all-around contributor once he fills out his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame made slighter by a recent growth spurt.

“With his skating ability and first-pass ability, with today’s game he projects a solid, two-way defenseman,” said Jason Karmanos, the Hurricanes’ vice president and assistant general manager. “He’s got the tools to make it work, but he’s still got a ways to improve on the defensive side. He’s still in the stage where he’s got some development time before he’s ready for the NHL.”

In addition to his skills, the Hurricanes are also encouraged by Beaulieu’s background. His father Jacques coached him during his rookie season with Saint John in 2008-09 before moving on to become an assistant with London of the Ontario Hockey League.

“He’s a kid that’s been around hockey all his life and it’s rubbed off on him,” said Karmanos. “He seems to love the game and has a good feel for how hard he needs to work to get to the next level.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 60 39 16 5 162 133 83
2 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
3 NYR 59 37 16 6 186 145 80
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
6 DET 59 33 15 11 173 154 77
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 60 26 21 13 145 169 65
10 PHI 61 26 24 11 162 178 63
11 OTT 58 25 23 10 166 161 60
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 59 26 29 4 155 184 56
14 TOR 60 24 31 5 167 183 53
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 61 18 38 5 114 204 41

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 59 11 27 -16 38
E. Staal 54 18 18 -9 36
E. Lindholm 58 11 15 -16 26
J. Skinner 54 15 9 -16 24
J. Tlusty 52 13 10 -17 23
R. Nash 56 7 14 -9 21
N. Gerbe 55 6 14 -13 20
A. Sekera 57 2 17 -7 19
V. Rask 57 8 10 -18 18
J. McClement 59 4 12 1 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 19 4 .914 2.35
A. Khudobin 6 11 3 .901 2.73