Beaulieu welcomed Montreal trading him to Buffalo Sabres
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Understanding his days were numbered in Montreal,
Aside from getting a fresh start with a Phil Housley-coached team placing a value on puck-moving
"It definitely took the stress level off me," Beaulieu said during a conference call Sunday, a day after being traded. "Having that happen just before the (trade) freeze was a huge sigh of relief. And going to Buffalo was a bonus."
The Sabres gave up a third-round pick in exchange for the 2011 first-round selection who completed his third full season in Montreal.
The deal was struck just before NHL teams were required to submit their protected lists for the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft.
Though it's unclear whether he would be selected by Vegas on Wednesday, the 24-year-old was certain the Canadiens would not have protected him. Buffalo, on the other hand, protected their new addition at the expense of exposing two more high-profile and higher-priced
The trade didn't surprise Beaulieu, who sensed his future in Montreal was uncertain once his playing time began to diminish under coach Claude Julien. He was scratched twice in the final month of the regular season and also benched for Game 6 of a first-round playoff series in which the Canadiens were eliminated by the New York Rangers in April.
Despite his inconsistencies, Beaulieu had career-bests with four goals and 28 points in 74 games, while averaging 19-1/2 minutes of ice time.
In Buffalo, he will be given the opportunity to play a top-four role on a team retooling its
Though he's not familiar with Housley, Beaulieu believes he's better suited to play in Buffalo as opposed to Montreal, which
"I've got a huge opportunity to re-grow my game with a guy who played the game similarly to the way I would like to play it," Beaulieu said, noting he also had a brief chat with Housley following the trade.
He declined to say whether he bore any grudges toward the Canadiens.
"I'm not going to get into too much about Montreal," said Beaulieu, who grew up in southern Ontario, about a 2-1/2-hour drive from Buffalo. "I'm focused on Buffalo."
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