Hamilton Bulldogs player of the week - Nathan Beaulieu

Nathan Beaulieu on draft day. - Nick Laham

In two games this week, Nathan Beaulieu recorded two goals and one assist.

The Bulldogs finished the week with a 2-1-0 record, beating the Saint John's IceCaps and the Lake Erie Monsters, they fell to the Binghamton Senators in a one goal game in between those two wins.

Nathan Beaulieu missed the most recent game, sitting out for undiscolsed reasons, but in the two games prior, Beaulieu was dominant.

Against the IceCaps, Beaulieu potted two goals, included the deciding marker in a 4-3 win. Beaulieu was clearly a force in this game, putting 5 shots on net, second to only Michael Bournival (7 shots). He's clearly improved his defensive positioning and his outlet passes are strong as well.

There is still some work to be done on his defensive game, he still gives up the puck a little too much by looking for offence first. Poise will come with age and experience, and he will learn when it's a good time to gamble, and when he should play it safe. Though he possesses a strong slap shot, he seems to score most of his goals with a well placed wrist shot from the point.

In his second game, against a depleted Binghamton Senators squad, Beaulieu assisted on Louis Leblanc's second period goal that put the Bulldogs within one. Unfortunately they couldn't equal the score and impeach the Senators, as they fell 3-2.

Beaulieu's totals for the week in two games:

2 Goals (1 Game Winning Goal)

1 Assist

8 Shots

+3

4 PIM

Nathan has 19 points (6 Goals, 13 Assists) in 52 games this season, good for 5th in team scoring (behind, Gabriel Dumont (30 pts), Mike Blunden (21 pts), Brendan Gallagher (20 pts), and Michael Bournival (20 pts).

I've noticed a lot of people comparing Beaulieu to P.K. Subban, but it's not really a fair comparable. Subban played only one season in Hamilton scoring 18 goals and 35 assists in 77 games. Subban is a special player and expecting a Beaulieu to follow in his footsteps will only set you up for disappointment.

A better comparative would be Ron Hainsey, in Hainsey's second year with the Dogs he put up similar numbers (7 goals, 24 assists in 54 games). Hainsey also had a lot more offensive talent to work with on the 2003/2004roster, guys like Tomas Plekanec (heard of him?), Jozef Balej (The guy traded for Alex Kovalev), Alexander Perezhogin, Benoit Gratton and Chris Higgins were the top scorers for the Bulldogs that year.

Beaulieu's 19 points also puts him in the top 10 for Rookie Defencemen scoring, in front of him are the likes of Justin Schultz, Adam Clendening, and Jamie Oleksiak who have all spent some time in the NHL this season after the lockout ended, so he's in good company.

The Bulldogs will be back in action tomorrow, when they will host the Abbotsford Heat at 7:30pm.


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