The Chicago Blackhawks have inked one of their newest prospects, signing Nicolas Beaudin to a three-year entry-level contract. Beaudin is currently playing with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL and will remain there for the rest of the season, meaning his deal will slide forward and not start until next season. The 19-year old defenseman was selected 27th overall in June’s draft, with the pick acquired from the Nashville Predators for Ryan Hartman.
The contract will include performance bonuses as most entry-level deals do, but the Blackhawks will avoid any Schedule ’B’ bonuses that could really spike the cap hit for Beaudin. These bonuses are often only given out to the very highest draft picks or college players as a way to entice them out of school. In fact, this contract only has a total of $725K in potential bonus money over its entire length, something that may come in handy for the Blackhawks down the road. Really what should interest Chicago fans though is the excellent performance Beaudin has already shown this year.
Undersized compared to the traditional defenseman, Beaudin is a prototype of the new era of blue liners as his mobility and ability to quickly and effectively move the puck stands out among the crowd. In fact, his puck-moving ability was nearly unrivaled in the recent draft class and has shown itself off early in the 2018-19 season. Beaudin recorded nine points in nine games with Drummondville, but unfortunately recently suffered a wrist injury that has kept him out. That might slow his development some, but the Blackhawks are still extremely excited about his future. Earlier this summer GM Stan Bowman spoke with Chris Kuc of NHL.com about what he saw in Beaudin:
Looking at his talents, he’s got really good instincts in terms of how to defend and also how to complement with offense. Really polished, smooth player. He makes it look pretty easy. He’s not one of those guys who exerts a ton of energy but he’s a very efficient defender.
Beaudin himself sees a future not just contributing offensively, but at both ends of the rink like a Chicago legend—Duncan Keith. Though he has a long way to go to match anything the future Hall of Fame defenseman has done, signing his first contract was another step in that direction.