It’s Nicolas Beaudin’s time to shine.
I watched in awe the first time seeing Nicolas Beaudin play the game a few years back.
I asked a few NHL scouts about Beaudin and remember them saying they weren’t too high on the transitional offensive defender.
That all changed about a month later when one scout pulled me aside in the press box in the old Moncton Coliseum.
“Hey Eags, don’t tell anyone I’m saying this, but remember what I said about Beaudin, he’s really pushing the pace now.”
“He’s playing outstanding.”
You see I had watched him play and was really impressed. That’s why I wanted to check out my projection of the smooth skating puck moving offensive defenceman.
You see first impressions are everything, but their early season analysis and projections were accurate. They gave the player the benefit of the doubt.
Many viewings are critical especially considering highly skilled offensive minded defenders.
At that point I had already written a few feature articles for the QMJHL.
Beaudin was flying under the radar with a very young talented Voltigeurs team.
After an outstanding game I went down to the dressing room to try to track down Beaudin.
Am I ever glad I did.
The shy well spoken mature defenceman gave me gold.
We spoke for about ten minutes that day.
I was blown away by his honesty and dedication to the game.
The article was published on March 16, 2018.
Day By Day focused on Beaudin’s passion, dedication and love for the game.
I guess the rest is history.
I was so proud and happy that Beaudin was taken in the 1st round by the Chicago Blackhawks later that year.
I had the game circled on my calendar.
The Voltigeurs at Moncton.
I couldn’t wait to talk to Nicolas about his first NHL experiences and his goal of playing for Team Canada at the World Juniors.
Beaudin is one the most well spoken and mature QMJHL players I have ever interviewed and spoken to in my five years of covering the league.
The result of that interview is below.
I originally published the article on November 30, 2018.
Nicolas Beaudin had a year to remember in 2017-2018.
The highly skilled 19-year-old blue liner amassed 69 points in 68 games, which was good for a tie for 2nd in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scoring for defencemen.
Nevertheless, every young player needs a mentor from time to time, someone to look up to; bounce ideas off of, but most importantly help them adjust to life at the next level.
The highly effective smooth skating, two-way puck moving defencemen from Chateauguay, Quebec is trying to implement what he learned from his mentor at his first pro camp. “Just going to an NHL Camp is awesome, it’s like a dream come true,” said an excited Beaudin.
“Just meeting a guy like Duncan Keith, he took me under his wing and he showed me a couple of things in Chicago.”
“He just told me to play the game and he said sometimes the game becomes to much X’s and O’s,” explained Beaudin.
By all accounts Beaudin took the 3 x Stanley Cup Champion’s advice to heart. “He told me that I was good with the puck, so just play my game and to battle hard to get the puck and then make some plays.”
Beaudin believes his first NHL experience has made him more accountable at both ends of the ice. “For sure the NHL experience has helped me a lot just in the neutral zone, you know my gap control and stop going backward and taking an angle and moving forward up the ice. I feel I’m better defensively than I was last year,” Beaudin said confidently.
“I think I’m more comfortable with the puck. When I was Traverse City I was making some good plays. I’m good with the puck and need to skate with the puck, I think my offensive skills make me an elite offensive defencemen in the Q,” confessed Beaudin.
Beaudin certainly has the numbers to back that statement up. In 191 career QMJHL games the shifty two-way defencemen has 141 points.
Beaudin has remained very grounded given his success. His journey in the game started like any other young kid growing up in hockey crazed Quebec.
“From waking up at 6 am when I was young, to my mother cooking good meals for me everyday, I owe my parents everything,” Beaudin said proudly.
“My Dad was a coach for twenty years and he has the same passion for the game as I do. He always wanted me to do well, and has always followed me,” confessed Beaudin.
Beaudin’s father, Stephane even attended a recent East coast road trip that saw the Voltigeurs go undefeated against the Saint John Sea Dogs, the Moncton Wildcats and the 2019 Memorial Cup Hosts the Halifax Mooseheads.
There’s no question the Drummondville Voltigeurs are built to win it all this year. So does Beaudin and his teammates feel any added pressure with the high expectations?
“I don’t feel any pressure, I’m having fun everyday, I enjoy hockey it’s my passion,” said the soft-spoken defencemen.
“I really love coming to the rink and getting better. We have a good group of guys here.”
The Voltigeurs are getting a big shot in the arm with the return of Anaheim Ducks Prospect Maxime Comtois. “It’s awesome,” Beaudin said of having his long time friend join the team.
“I’ve known Max for about 7 years now, he’s a great guy and we are really happy to have him back.”
“Max is going to be a big piece of the puzzle and he means a lot to the team. We are going for the President Cup and then the Memorial Cup so it’s fun to come to the rink everyday.”
In 16 games with the Volts, Beaudin already has 18 points, 18 PIMs and is +17. Beaudin remains fixated on team success, but also set a few individual goals entering 2018-2019 season. “For me it would be a huge honour,” Beaudin said of having a chance to play for his country at the World Juniors.
“I never had the chance to play at U’17’s or U’18’s. I try to battle as hard as I can and make myself better everyday, to show them what I can do.”
The 19-year-old believes he did enough at the QMJHL/Russia Series to at least garner an invitation. “If I have a chance to attend camp I’m going to do everything in my power to stay there.”
From a breakout season last year to being Drafted in the 1st round by the Chicago Blackhawks, to Championship aspirations Nicolas Beaudin continues to take it all in stride, kind like his mentor.
Unfortunately we all know how the season ended for Beaudin and the Volts. You could say the year was massive disappointment. Nevertheless Nicolas Beaudin has never let adversity define his journey in the game, if anything it has galvanized the young skilled defenceman.
Beaudin was recalled by the Blackhawks tonight.
It would appear hockey dreams do come true and it couldn’t happen to a better player, but more importantly person.
Best of luck Nicolas, You have earned it.