Wednesday, June 22, 2011

E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120: Nathan Beaulieu #11

By Eldon MacDonald

11. Nathan Beaulieu - “The Son of Hockey” - D - Canada

Vitals: Size - 6’1”, 179 lb.; Shoots left; Born: 5-Dec-92 - Strathroy, ON
Team: Saint John, QMJHL
2010-11Stats: 65-12-33-45-52-(+44) + QMJHL playoffs 18-4-3-17-26-(+4) + Memorial Cup 4-1-2-3-2-(+0)
6 - NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings (5th North American skater)
8 - Cory Pronman's Top 100
9 - Craig Button's Top 30 of 8-Jun-11
9 - Future Considerations Final Rankings
10 - Guy Flaming - The Pipeline Show Top 30
11 - E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120
11 - Bob MacKenzie's June Poll of Scouts
12 - Christopher Ralph's Top 210
12 - Kirk Luedeke's Top 50
12 - McKeens June Top 30
13 - Dean Millard -The Pipeline Show Top 30
14 - ISS's Top 30 - 30-May-11 Rankings per TSN
15 - hfboards Readers’ Poll
16 - The Scouting Report's Top 100 Skaters
18 - The Hockey News per TSN
Draft result:
17 - Montreal Canadiens

You’ve come a long way baby is all I can say about this guy. I remember going to see him the last game of the 2009-10 season and came away underwhelmed, he was just not that good. But what a difference a year makes in the life of a prospect. He didn’t exactly start the season blowing you away either but he just kept getting better and better and by the time the Memorial Cup rolled around, his defense was much improved and the offense was starting to look elite. As his coach, Gerard Gallant, explained to, "We've seen a lot of improvement, especially in his defensive game. Last year, Nathan competed in the defensive zone but he wasn't strong enough, wasn't big enough. This year he made the effort. He's playing a lot better defensively, plus he's still getting his points. It just goes to show the kid worked hard defensively and he's still getting his offensive situations."

The things that make Nathan special are his mobility and agility. It allows him to do so much, rush the puck, pinch-in, twist and turn at the point and push the play. He also has the big point shot, good passing ability and vision that allow him to set the tone for the game. His defensive side is still not elite but has improved so much this year that you know it will not be a problem going forward. Nathan can be physical and he can drop the gloves too but needs to adds to his strength before it becomes a plus side of his game. The other thing that you need to know about Nathan is that he grew up (literally) in the game as his father (Jacques, currently head coach of the Sarnia Sting) was always the coach or assistant coach of some junior team, including Saint John. He grew up around Robbie Shremp, now with Winnipeg, and Corey Perry of Anaheim when they played for the London Knights. He also trains with a couple of other London Knights alumina, John Carlson (Washington) and Sam Gagner (Edmonton) so he knows what he needs to do in junior to be a successful pro.

The rankings for him above run from six to sixteen with both myself and Bob MacKenzie (June poll of scouts) having him in the middle at 11.


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