Beau lieu is French for 'beautiful place.' Sabres fans can only hope that Nathan Beaulieu, the team's new defenseman, finds Buffalo a glorious change of scenery for his hockey career.
GM Jason Botterrill acquired Beaulieu, 24, from the Canadiens on Saturday for a third-round pick in this week's draft. That's a modest price to pay for a veteran D who set career highs in games and plus-minus last season.
Only one third-rounder from the last 10 NHL drafts has made an all-star team: Vincent Trocheck of the Panthers. The Sabres' best thirds were Brayden McNabb and Nick Baptiste. It's a crap shoot. They're better off rolling the dice on a defenseman in his prime.
True, Beaulieu fell out of favor after starting the year on the No. 1 pair with Shea Weber. He was scratched in the Habs' final playoff game. But unless he's completely lost it, he'll slot in on the second pair for a desperately thin D.
Beaulieu was known for poor decision-making in Montreal. Word is, he was inhibited by his coaches' reluctance to have defensemen skate the puck up ice. That's what Phil Housley wants from his D. This could be a good fit.