CHICAGO – Nathan Beaulieu and Evander Kane fit the aggressive style of hockey Phil Housley wants to play. One definitely will. The jury is still out on the other.
Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill is excited about the trade he made last weekend to acquire Beaulieu from Montreal for a third-round pick.
“He’s a player that certainly wants to play the way Phil wants to have the team play,” Botterill said Friday. “He can get up the ice. He competes hard, is aggressive all over the ice.
“It’s been no secret we’ve looked to try to add depth to our defense corps, and we’re very excited about bringing Nathan into the group.”
Kane remains the Sabres’ wild card. Buffalo’s best goal scorer has one year left on his contract. The Sabres need to weigh whether he's a long-term piece or should be moved for other assets.
“We’re always looking at different ways to improve our team, but Evander, Phil Housley’s had some great conversations with Evander already,” Botterill said. “We know how talented of a player he certainly is. From a scoring aspect I think it was 25 even-strength goals last year. How we want to play, he can certainly be a force.
“Our dialogue and interaction with Evander has been positive so far, and we’ll see where it goes.”
The Sabres lost one speedy player this week when Vegas General Manager George McPhee selected William Carrier in the expansion draft. The Golden Knights also got a sixth-round pick to stay away from certain players.
“I had very good conversations with George throughout the entire process, talking about different scenarios,” Botterill said. “I certainly did not want to lose Will, a young player who brought energy and we wanted to continue to develop, but it’s an expansion draft. You’re going to lose a good player.
“It was a scenario where after the conversations I thought it was worth putting in a sixth-round pick to protect some other players on our roster. Overall, we were happy with how the expansion process went.”
One of the protected players was goaltender Linus Ullmark, who recently signed a two-year deal after being the workhorse in Rochester.
“He was one of the players that we certainly wanted to keep from a depth perspective,” Botterill said. “We want to strengthen our goaltending throughout our entire organization. He’s a player that I have to continue to get familiar with, but our staff here is very excited about him.”