Fresh off winning the Memorial Cup Championship with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Saint John Sea Dogs, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu had little time to celebrate his team’s accomplishment.
The 18-year-old defenseman from Strathroy, Ontario found himself at the NHL Scouting Combine less than 24 hours after hoisting the Canadian Hockey League’s most prestigious trophy and arguably the most difficult to win in all of sports.
Beaulieu’s quest to Memorial Cup glory began after his Saint John Sea Dogs squad defeating the Gatineau Olympiques in dramatic fashion, winning 3-2 in double overtime. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s President’s Cup was theirs, earning them a birth in the Memorial Cup Tournament where they defeated the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors in the championship.
|Beaulieu hoists the Memorial Cup after a 3-1 victory over Mississauga. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images) |
It was a long and demanding season for Beaulieu, who played in a combined total of 88 games over the course of the regular season, postseason, and Memorial Cup Tournament.
He led Sea Dogs defensemen in points during the regular season, scoring 12 goals, 33 assists, and 45 points, and set a team record for plus-minus as a defenseman with a plus-44 rating, breaking his previous high of plus-43 in 2009-10.
His impressive numbers carried over into the postseason, with Beaulieu ranking third overall among all defensemen with 17 points in 19 games including three points (one goal, two assists) in the six-game series victory against Gatineau in the President’s Cup Finals.
Currently listed at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, Beaulieu is an exceptional skater with long, fluid strides and excellent mobility, allowing him to showcase his offensive – and defensive – zone coverage. The offensive defenseman models his game after former Guelph Storm prodigy and current Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty because of his ability to keep things simple.
As one of nine Sea Dogs on NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings, Beaulieu is second only to Jonathan Huberdeau. He is also the second highest North American defenseman on Central Scouting’s list and fifth overall among all skaters. Below are highlights of his 2010-11 season:
- His 12-33=45 points during the regular season ranked tied for 11th overall in scoring among QMJHL defensemen.
- Finished the regular season with a plus-44 rating – the highest single-season rating for a defenseman in Sea Dogs history – breaking his previous team record of plus-43 in 2009-10.
- Led all defensemen in scoring through the first round of the playoffs with 1-7=8 points in four games.
- Finished the postseason ranked third overall among defensemen with 4-13=17 points in 19 gamesDid you know?
- His father, Jacques, is currently the assistant coach of the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League and was the head coach and GM of Saint John in 2008-09 during Nathan’s rookie season.
- Idolizes and patterns his game after Long Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.Up Next: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
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