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Sabres Notebook: Nathan Beaulieu reportedly requests trade

CALGARY – Nathan Beaulieu's time with the Buffalo Sabres could be coming to an end.

Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reported Wednesday night that Beaulieu, a 26-year-old defenseman, requested to be traded ahead of a game against the Calgary Flames in Scotiabank Saddledome. Beaulieu was a healthy scratch has played only three of the Sabres' past 14 games.

He struggled in Buffalo's 7-2 loss in Edmonton on Monday and was replaced in the lineup by 23-year-old defenseman Lawrence Pilut. The Sabres have eight healthy defensemen on their roster, and Beaulieu has essentially been jumped on the depth chart by Pilut.

Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill declined to comment on Lavoie's report, and Beaulieu was not on the ice for warmups Wednesday night.

Beaulieu, drafted 17th overall by the Canadiens in 2011, was acquired by the Sabres in June 2017. He had one goal among nine points and a negative-19 rating last season but has been in and out of the lineup during his second year in Buffalo.

Beaulieu, who practiced with the team Tuesday in Scotiabank Saddledome, has three goals among seven points in only 26 games. In addition to being a healthy scratch, Beaulieu missed time with an upper-body injury.

He is making $2.4 million in the final season of his contract and will be an restricted free agent this offseason. The Sabres could be equipped to handle his departure. Matt Hunwick, who returned from injury in Boston on Dec. 29, has been a healthy scratch for 12 consecutive games and is under contract through next season.

Pilut, who signed an entry-level contract with the Sabres in May, has proven capable of playing in the NHL. He entered Wednesday with one goal among five points and a plus-5 rating in 14 games since his promotion from Rochester.

Pilut was selected to the AHL All-Star Classic after playing only 16 games with the Amerks, though his 22 points led the league. Additionally, the Sabres have Brendan Guhle in Rochester and Casey Nelson could return soon from an upper-body injury. Nelson has missed the past 18 games, but he had five points and a plus-6 rating in 22 games prior to the injury.

It's the second time this season a player has wanted to leave the Sabres. Patrik Berglund was suspended for failure to report before his contract was terminated.

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Former Sabres Matt Ellis, Craig Rivet, Andrew Peters, Patrick Kaleta, Brian Gionta and Michael Peca were among the coaches announced for the 2019-20 Junior Sabres 9U-18U teams on Wednesday.

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The NHL and its players' association have abandoned the possibility of holding a World Cup of Hockey in 2020. The league's deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, told NHL.com there were concerns about the event because of "labor uncertainty."

The current collective bargaining agreement following the 2021-22 season, but the two sides can reopen negotiations in September 2019, which could lead to the CBA expiring following next season.

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