WINNIPEG - Before free agency opened it wasn't a secret that the Winnipeg Jets would be focusing their efforts on players who wore a Jets' jersey in 2018-19.
The first of those players was unrestricted free agent Nathan Beaulieu who made an impression in his 18 games after being acquired at the trade deadline. Monday's deal made sense to bring him back for one year and one million dollars. Even though the Jets didn't qualify Beaulieu at 2.5 million which made him an UFA, he didn't think his days in Winnipeg were over.
"After playoffs and exit meetings I had some really good conversations with both coaches and management and all of the signs pointed back to this organization. I wasn't really surprised." said Beaulieu.
For GM Kevin Cheveldayoff he was pleased with Beaulieu after he acquired him last season to help the club fill the gap left by the injury to Josh Morrissey.
"He fits the style of play that we play. I think there was real good continuity right from the get-go with the coaches," said Cheveldayoff.
"There's a lot of trust with him. Played a big role stepping in right away obviously when Josh was hurt and came in and fit in seamlessly on the ice, fit in seamlessly off the ice. It's a good opportunity for him to play in a system that works for him with coaches that he believes in and (they) believe in him."
When Morrissey returned for the start of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs it meant that Beaulieu had to go from the ice to the press box. The 26-year-old had a tough time watching from above yet found a way to stay positive during the six game series against the St. Louis Blues.
"Yeah I mean you never want to watch but you know you have to be a good teammate and you know I knew the situation going into it. It was a team that had six guys that went to the conference final the year before," said Beaulieu.
"So there's a lot of ways to look at it and I knew that if I got a chance that I was going to try and make a statement. I totally understand and it's never easy watching from up top."
With the Jets losing Tyler Myers to the Vancouver Canucks in free agency and the trading of Jacob Trouba to the New York Rangers you can see why both the team and player are happy something worked out. Beaulieu also having no concerns signing for just the one season essentially betting on himself that he will get another chance at a bigger contract a year from now.
"I'm coming off a bigger contract but you know I'm trying to revamp my game and establish myself as a top four defenceman," said Beaulieu.
"I feel like I fit into this system really well. It wasn't really about the number aspect it was more about the fact I was going into a situation where I feel like I'm being put into succeed."