At one point Nathan Beaulieu of the Montreal Canadiens was thought to be a very good defenceman. In a lot of ways he is, but he has struggled at times in Montreal and there are thoughts that he might be on his way out. If the Canadiens intend on trading him, should the Jets look into acquiring him and what would the cost be to do so?
First of all, Beaulieu is a good defenceman, but he struggles with decision making. He has played on both the Habs first and third pairs this past season and has both found success and struggled depending on his deployment. Beaulieu’s tools are there though and some of his development and decision making problems might be atrributed to playing for a head coach who did not believe in breaking out of the zone by carrying the puck, forcing Beaulieu to act against his instincts.
If the Jets do choose to inquire about acquiring Beaulieu, what might Marc Bergevin ask Kevin Cheveldayoff in return? A good place to start is Mathieu Perreault who is a veteran centre, which the Habs need. Because of the age difference, it might take a pick to get that trade done, but a second or third round pick alongside Perreault would be a small price for the Jets to pay. Another option might be Nic Petan and Marko Dano or a lesser prospect. While both players have struggled to establish themselves in Winnipeg, they both have high potential. Oddly enough, they sound like Nathan Beaulieu as a forward.
The Jets should absolutely balk if the Habs ask for Jack Roslovic or Kyle Connor, though the Habs should absolutely ask about one of those players straight up for Beaulieu. Part of a trade is for teams to negotiate and see how much or how little they can get for a player. In this instance, the cost would be too high for the Jets. However, it would be foolish for Bergevin to not push the Jets to see how much he can get in return for Beaulieu.
As you can see, Beaulieu has had highs and lows over the past two seasons. At the start of this season he was playing alongside Shea Weber, which was an utter failure for both players. In fact, Alexei Emelin performed better alongside Weber this year. He did even out his performance as time went on once he was paired with Jeff Petry and Jordie Benn. Both of those defencemen are more mobile players who compliment Beaulieu’s game well. If Beaulieu plays best with mobile players, do the Jets have the players to help him find success? For all intents and purposes, Beaulieu is a complimentary defenceman who can drive play and score the odd goal when in the correct situation.
Should the Jets trade for Beaulieu? If the price is right, they should definitely explore the option. While he is not the perfect defenceman, he is beyond an adequate third pairing player and would immediately upgrade the Jets there, if not higher up in the lineup.