With four days between games, and eight defensemen on the roster, the Canadiens have decided to send Nathan Beaulieu down to the Hamilton Bulldogs, along with Drayson Bowman. While this may look on the surface like a move to get Beaulieu and Bowman in game action, the Bulldogs don't play until Friday, so best case scenario it's a cap move.
Bowman hasn't exactly impressed in his brief call up, though it would be tough to impress in the minutes he's played. It's possible that his demotion was to make room for a soon-to-be-healthy Michael Bournival, or the Canadiens are thinking about trying out another of their many good AHL level players.
For Beaulieu though, it makes less sense. Since the beginning of November, Beaulieu has been by far the biggest possession driver on the Canadiens, and actually leads the entire team in Corsi for percentage, meaning while he's on the ice the Canadiens have a higher percentage of shot attempts than at any other time. He's been doing that without getting an offensive zone push, but he's been undone by poor on-ice shooting percentage, and a single high profile giveaway that ended up in the back of his net, a giveaway that was a perfect pass to Dale Weise, that just happened to hop over his stick.
Beaulieu's replacement in Bryan Allen has a whopping 28.2% Corsi in his first two games as a Hab, not exactly inspiring compared to Beaulieu's 54.8%.
Just like last season, the Canadiens seem afraid of letting their young players grow into NHL players, and it could easily hurt them when it counts.
With Beaulieu sent down, the average age of the Habs' blueline is 32.7 years old. The next oldest blueline in the NHL is Carolina at 29.3 years old. That's more than a three year difference on average. That is not a good thing.