The Chicago Blackhawks have many promising defensemen within their organization; one of them is Nicolas Beaudin.
Nicolas Beaudin played in 19 games this past season, and at times he looked like he was going to become a permanent piece within the lineup. Beaudin started the season below Ian Mitchell and Adam Boqvist in the organization’s eye on defensemen, but now he has to be at least on the same level as Mitchell.
Beaudin had since points this season, two goals and four assists. There was a time this season that Beaudin was quarterbacking the top power-play unit, and he did look pretty good. However, all he has to show for it is one assist.
19 games is not a lot in the NHL. Beaudin will have to get some more NHL experience before we get an idea of what kind of player he is, but looking back, I have to say he was more of a liability at times for the team than I remembered.
Beaudin finished the season with the worst percentage of shots that actually ended up on the net when it comes to players that played in more than 10 games, according to hockey reference. His Corsi numbers were also pretty low at just 38.8 percent. Obviously, all these young players were pretty flawed at times, and Beaudin is no different.
The Blackhawks need Beaudin to step forward next season. That means he needs to use this offseason to get stronger and improve his game. The Blackhawks defense needs to change next season, and that really just means they need to get tougher. Teams have been able to knock around their blue line despite heavy hitters like Murphy and Zadorov.
Beaudin doesn’t need to be the biggest guy on the ice, but like Mitchell and Boqvist, he does need to get faster and stronger. Duncan Keith was never the biggest guy, but he was the strongest. For Beaudin’s play this season, I give him a B- rating. Honestly, he came in this season with little expectations that he would get a chance in the NHL, but he rose to the occasion and had a great training camp.
The Hawks need their prospects to rise above the expectations the scouts have for him, and Beaudin took that first step forward in 2020-21. Now it is time to see if he can become a solid top-four guy or if he will only be a bottom pairing defenseman that can play on the power play.