Technically, Nathan Beaulieu has another year of junior eligibility left however because of a December birthdate, the Canadiens send him to the Hamilton Bulldogs if his talent warrants the promotion.
Beaulieu becomes the fifth junior age player to be signed to 3 year/two way professional contracts joining Morgan Ellis plus forward Michael Bournival, Brendan Gallagher and Patrick Holland. Also joining Hamilton next year out of the University of Michigan will be defenseman Greg Pateryn.
MONTREAL (May 30, 2012) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced today the signing of defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a three-year contract (2012-13 to 2014-15). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
In 53 games with the Saint John Sea Dogs, Beaulieu finished tied for fifth in scoring among QMJHL defensemen with 52 points (11 goals, 41 assists). He was tied for third among rearguards in the league with 41 assists. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound defenseman scored four of his goals on the powerplay and one while shorthanded. He recorded 150 shots on goal, maintained a plus-41 plus/minus differential and served 100 penalty minutes. This season, Beaulieu helped the Sea Dogs to their third consecutive Jean-Rougeau Trophy (awarded to the QMJHL regular season champions), as well as their second straight President Cup (awarded to the QMJHL playoff champions).
Beaulieu ranked tied for third among league defensemen with 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 17 playoff contests. He tallied one of his goals on the powerplay. He displayed a plus-27 plus/minus differential and served 32 penalty minutes. Beaulieu added four assists in as many games at the Memorial Cup tournament in Shawinigan. He suited up for Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship in Alberta, posting one assist, 13 shots on goal and 16 penalty minutes in six games.
A native of Strathroy, Ontario, Beaulieu, 19, recorded 152 points (37 goals and 115 assists) in 233 games since his junior debut with Saint John. He was part of the Saint John squad that won the Memorial Cup in 2011.
He was drafted in the first round, 17th overall by the Canadiens at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Last September Beaulieu took part in his first training camp with the Canadiens, appearing in three preseason games, recording one assist (0-1-1) and three shots on goal. He was returned to the QMJHL’s Sea Dogs on September 26.