Blackhawks: Could Nicolas Beaudin be the next Duncan Keith?
By Dylan Terry
Nicolas Beaudin made his NHL debut on March 11th against the San Jose Sharks. He played very well during his limited amount of ice time, as he ended the night with a +1 rating. Now after the first few days of training camp, Beaudin looks to be a mainstay on the Blackhawks for years to come.
Nicolas Beaudin was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks with the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. A promising young defensive prospect, Beaudin has played very well in his limited time with the Hawks so far. He only played 17 minutes during his only NHL appearance, but he has turned quite a few heads since training camp started back up on July 13th. When you watch Nicolas on the ice, you will notice quite a few similarities between him and another pretty successful Chicago blueliner, Duncan Keith.
Prior to being selected by the Blackhawks, Beaudin spent roughly four seasons playing for the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL. In 211 games played with Drummondville, he tallied 24 goals and 143 assists for a total of 177 points. This past season, he spent the majority of the year with the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League. He scored 3 goals and added 12 assists in 59 games during his first season of play in the professional ranks.
Here are Beaudin’s statistics over the past couple of seasons:
When you compare Nicolas Beaudin and Duncan Keith, you will find a lot in common between the pair. First of all, they are both left-handed shot defenseman. They play the same exact position, so this puts Beaudin in a very good spot to develop and learn from his fellow teammate. They also both hail from Canada, with Beaudin being born in Chateauguay, Quebec, and Keith coming out of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
If you take a look at their bodies and playstyle, you can find even more similarities. Beaudin stands at 5’11” tall, whereas Keith is just a tad bit bigger at 6’1″. In terms of weight, Keith comes in a bit heavier weighing 192 pounds compared to 174 pounds for Nicolas. Both Keith and Beaudin thrive as two-way defensemen with the ability to move the puck efficiently through the neutral zone. The duo can also hold their own in the defensive zone while being able to use their sticks to effectively create turnovers.
If you research their minor league statistics, Keith does have a slight advantage over Beaudin. During his stint with the Kelowna Rockets, Keith absolutely tore up the Western Hockey League, which is comparable to the QMJHL where Beaudin played his junior career. Keith had a whopping 46 points in only 35 games played in the WHL. During his two seasons in the American Hockey League, Keith averaged 0.331 points per game, which just beats out the 0.254 that Beaudin posted in his first season with the IceHogs.
Here are Keith’s career statistics:
While Beaudin does need some more development and a little bit bigger frame, the Hawks coaching staff and front office have liked what they’ve seen out of him in his debut and training camp thus far.
As of right now, Beaudin is projected to start next season with Rockford once again, but it may not be long until you see him in the NHL. Keep in mind that Duncan also played two years at the AHL level himself before making the jump into the NHL. Once Beaudin gains a tad bit more experience, he could potentially become a very reliable defenseman in the Windy City for many years to come.
With Keith and Brent Seabrook‘s careers winding down, and the constant injuries that always seem to accumulate on Chicago’s defense, it could provide the opportunity for Beaudin to flourish in the NHL. Who knows, maybe Chicago could have another future Norris Trophy winner on their hands? Only time will tell.