The Winnipeg Jets were in the market for a depth defenseman, and they have found a pair in Nathan Beaulieu and Bogdan Kiselevich. The Buffalo Sabres have traded Beaulieu to the Jets in exchange for a 2019 sixth-round pick, reports TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, while a 2021 seventh-round selection is heading to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Kiselevich, reports colleague Darren Dreger. Both defenders are impending free agents, Beaulieu an RFA and Kiselevich a UFA.
Beaulieu, 26, proved to be a poor fit in Buffalo. After recording 28 points in 74 games in his final season with the Montreal Canadiens in 2016-17, Beaulieu was dealt to the Sabres for a third-round pick. Less than two years later, he had registered just 16 points in a combined 89 games and Buffalo were content to move on for a mere sixth-rounder. Beaulieu has shown to be a capable puck-moving defenseman, but the system and the depth chart worked against him with the Sabres. Now in Winnipeg, Beaulieu is likely to challenge for regular play time with several Jets defenders injured. A strong showing down the stretch or in the postseason could even earn him an extended stay with the team. Beaulieu will be owed a $2.5MM qualifying offer for the Jets to retain his rights and the team is facing a difficult cap crunch this off-season, so Beaulieu will really have to perform well in his brief time with the team.
As for Kiselevich, the 29-year-old is in his first NHL season after coming over from the KHL. Kiselevich has only seen 32 games worth of action to this point with Florida – likely why the team was happy to move him for just a future seventh-rounder – but has actually played well in his limited exposure. Nevertheless, this is very much a deep depth addition for the Jets and Kiselevich may never actually suit up for the team. If he hopes to stay in the NHL beyond this season though, he will try to earn some ice time before the end of the year.