2018 NHL draft prospect profile #27: Nicolas Beaudin

BOISBRIAND, QC - OCTOBER 26: Nicolas Beaudin #92 of the Drummondville Voltigeurs skates during the QMJHL game against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada at the Centre d'Excellence Sports Rousseau on October 26, 2016 in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada. The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada defeated the Drummondville Voltigeurs 4-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
BOISBRIAND, QC - OCTOBER 26: Nicolas Beaudin #92 of the Drummondville Voltigeurs skates during the QMJHL game against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada at the Centre d'Excellence Sports Rousseau on October 26, 2016 in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada. The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada defeated the Drummondville Voltigeurs 4-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Nicolas Beaudin is the latest entry in our 2018 NHL draft prospect profile series. Should the Canucks find a way to nab in him the late first or early second round, they’ll have themselves a smooth-skating blueliner.

The Vancouver Canucks own the seventh-overall pick in this year’s draft, but general manager Jim Benning would be wise to find a way to land another first-rounder, given the immense amount of talent in this class.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to secure such a pick at the trade deadline, as Thomas Vanek once again brought back little value in a trade deadline deal.

The Canucks will have to sacrifice a notable veteran, or else Benning is going to have to get crafty if he wants to trade up late in the first round this year.

This year’s class is loaded with excellent defensive prospects, and the Canucks stand to land one of Evan Bouchard, Adam Boqvist, Quinn Hughes or Noah Dobson. But Benning also has to see if there’s a way to secure another quality blueliner.

Enter Drummondville Voltigeurs defenceman Nicolas Beaudin, who places 27th on our list of the top 31 prospects in this year’s draft.

The stats rundown

Height: 180 cm/5’11”

Weight: 78 kg/172 lbs

More from The Canuck Way

Birthdate: Oct. 7, 1999

Position: D

Handedness: Left

Team (league): Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)

Rankings:

#31 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)

#69 by FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS

#25 by TSN’s Craig Button

#67 by Dobber Prospects (Cam Robinson)

Stats: 68 GP, 12 G, 57 A, 69 P

Beaudin broke out offensively in the QMJHL, as easily surpassing the 41 points he had last season. He also scored 11 points in 10 postseason games, further displaying his ability to come through in big games.

Of course, Beaudin doesn’t come with the same upside as other defensive prospects in this draft. His shot isn’t as fancy as Bouchard’s, and the defensive play still needs plenty of work. If he reaches his full potential, you’re probably looking at a No. 3 or 4 blueliner.

Related Story: 2018 NHL draft profile #28: Jonatan Berggren

And as impressive as Beaudin’s stats are for a blueliner, there are plenty of defencemen playing junior hockey in Canada with similar (or even better) numbers. It’s clear that other scouts don’t quite see him transitioning the offence into the NHL, which makes this a tough guess: Is he worthy of a late first-round pick? Or could he slip down to the second or third? It’s safe to assume that different GMs will have different takes on him.

Scouting reports

Bill Plazcek, DraftSite.com:

"New age defender with good puck movement skills, nice foot speed, and a good stick. Funnels attackers to the side boards, can make the secure outlet pass in transition."

Curtis Joe, EliteProspects.com:

"Nicolas Beaudin is a diminutive yet cunning defenceman that is able to use his size to his advantage. His mobility is all but elite at this point; he primarily uses his speed to open up passing and shooting lanes in the offensive zone. With and without the puck he stays composed and in-position, allowing him to analyze situations effortlessly and make those calculated decisions.Defensively, he is assertive and, though he isn’t able to impose himself physically, he uses his vision and quickness to take away options and put pressure on the opposition. He plays a structured game offensively, and he does the little things right. His ability to recognize where the puck is, where it is going to be, and why it is going to be there is an indicator of his high-level hockey sense.When you put together skill, speed, and excellent decision-making as well as he does, that translates to on-ice productivity and power-play time. All-in-all, Nicolas Beaudin is an offensive defenceman that understands his own game well and ever seeks to expand upon his strengths."

What we think

Beaudin is a low-risk and potentially high-reward player. He has the tools to be a potential top-four blueliner in the NHL. But again, the Canucks are either going to have to trade up or hope that Beaudin falls to them in the second round.

It’d be a major surprise if Vancouver opted to choose a forward over a blueliner with the seventh pick. And if Benning were bent on going with the organizational need, nobody should be surprised if a player like Beaudin is selected with his second pick.

Beaudin would be a good fit for a Canucks blue line that centres more around speed then muscle and physicality, if you take a look at the likes of Troy Stecher and Chris Tanev. It’s all up to Benning, as to whether or not he wants a more physical blueliner or a guy like Beaudin who can fit the style that his other defenders play.

There’s obviously a major division when it comes to determining Beaudin’s value. As you can see above, some see him as a first-round pick, but others believe he could fall down into the late second or even the third round.

Next: 2018 NHL draft prospect profile #29: Jared McIsaac

There’s a lot to love about Beaudin’s game, and if his development goes smoothly, he truly could blossom as a top-four blueliner. If he’s there for Benning to take by round two, Beaudin would be a very safe selection.