Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu has asked to be traded, reports TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie (Twitter link). He’s slated to be a healthy scratch tonight against Calgary, something that has been a recent occurrence as of late.
The 26-year-old is in his second season with Buffalo after being acquired from Montreal just before the protection lists for the Vegas Expansion Draft were due. At the time, the hope was that an opportunity for more ice time elsewhere would help him unlock the potential he had shown, allowing him to become a top-four defenseman. Unfortunately for Beaulieu and the Sabres, that hasn’t happened.
Last year, he dealt with a concussion and multiple illnesses while spending time as a healthy scratch. As a result, he put up just nine points in 59 games, well below the 28 he had tallied in his final season with the Canadiens. On top of that, his playing time dropped from 19:29 per game in Montreal to less than 16 minutes a night with Buffalo.
This season, things haven’t gone much better. His hold on a spot on the lineup continues to be tenuous and he has been a frequent scratch once again. Beaulieu has played in just 26 games this season and while he has been a bit better offensively (his 0.27 point per game average equals his average from his time in Montreal), his ice time has dropped to just 14:46 per night. Clearly, he doesn’t have the confidence of the coaching staff.
Beaulieu is in the second and final season of a two-year, $4.8MM contract that he signed shortly after being acquired. He’s owed a qualifying offer of $2.5MM this summer and has arbitration eligibility. As things stand, it appears to be highly unlikely that Buffalo will tender him an offer so the trade request has been made in the hopes of restoring his value somewhere else. Given his limited role, there probably won’t be many suitors but a team looking for some mobility on the back end may be inclined to take a flyer on him.
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