Second City Hockey’s 2019-20 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2019. The rankings are determined by a composite score from six SCH writers and more than 70 readers. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. The six SCH writers will make their ballots public after the series is completed.
Of the top three defensive prospects remaining in the Blackhawks’ organization, Nicolas Beaudin’s name seems to come up the least. That may have to do with this more subtle, smooth style of play, as Stan Bowman told The Athletic in this April article. But just because Beaudin’s name may not be grabbing headlines and his plays may not be making highlights doesn’t mean the 2018 first-round pick is losing his luster.
Beaudin dominated in the QMJHL last season, helping the Drummondville Voltigeurs reach the semifinals. His 49 assists were second among QMJHL defensemen; his 56 points fifth despite missing five games with a wrist fracture. According to prospect-stats.com, Beaudin was on the ice for 74 goals scored and just 27 allowed, a 73.27 GF% that ranked fifth in the league. All this in spite of missing a dozen games in October due to a fractured wrist.
There was one disappointing development during Beaudin’s season, though: he was the final player cut from the Team Canada roster for the World Juniors. However, the way that Beaudin played in the second half of the season helped relieve any concerns that decision may have raised.
Like virtually everything else related to Beaudin, his performance at July’s prospect camp was solid, yet unspectacular. He didn’t make any egregious mistakes that left him looking out of place nor did he dazzle the crowd with any brilliant plays in the offensive zone. It was a quiet, steady week for Beaudin — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a defenseman.
Iso on Nicolas Beaudin (34) #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/xyHSCMGRUc— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) July 19, 2019
The most likely landing spot for Beaudin in the 2019-20 season is with the Rockford IceHogs. If he showed up to Blackhawks training camp and turned in a spectacular performance, it wouldn’t be an absolute total shock if he found his way up to the NHL roster. This is a former first-round pick, after all. But given the already crowded blue line situation at the NHL level — and even in Rockford, to an extent — Beaudin seems destined for a year (or two) of grooming in the AHL before he becomes a mainstay in the NHL.
Beaudin’s still a teenager, too. There’s plenty of time for that development to occur.
Is Nicolas Beaudin ranked too low, just right or too high?
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