2011 NHL Draft:Montreal Canadiens Select Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu 17th Overall

Scott WeldonCorrespondent IJune 25, 2011

First Round Pick 2011: Nathan Beaulieu
First Round Pick 2011: Nathan BeaulieuNick Laham/Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens picked another puck-moving, potential power-play quarterback to join newly signed Andrei Markov 32, PK Subban 22, Yannick Weber (RFA) 22, and Mathieu Carle D 23 on the offensive defenseman depth chart.

If restricted free agent James Wisniewski is signed by Montreal, that puts five men ahead of the newly drafted Nathan Beaulieu of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) on the depth chart to run the power play in Montreal.

I am not counting Jaroslav Spacek, mostly because I want to pretend he is no longer under contract. Ditto for Roman Hamrlik. Neither one will be under contract when Beaulieu is ready for the NHL.

Thank goodness newly signed Alexei Yemelin is a stay at home hitter.

Nathan is an 18-year-old who probably is ready to make the jump to the AHL at least. He was a key member of the Memorial Cup winning Sea Dogs this year.

Chosen 17th by the Canadiens, he was ranked 11th by TSN  and 12th by the Hockey news. At not quite 6'2" and 175 pounds the consensus is Beaulieu will have to add muscle and some aggressiveness to become a useful NHL player.

The puck moving talent is apparently already there.

I have fixated on Montreal needing more offensive depth at center, but Nathan Beaulieu seems like a great pick at 17. He is not a true Francophone, but only in Montreal could that be an issue. Perhaps the name alone will be enough. 

He is an especially good pick at 17th overall if you realise you can't bench press talent into a player, but muscle, that can be added. He has already made a Bleacher Report List as one of the seven steals of the first round.


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