Canucks, Beauvillier

Ex-Canucks Winger Beauvillier Not Completely Surprised By Trade

In a majority of cases, particularly well ahead of the deadline, NHL players who get moved in a trade don’t see it coming. That would only sort of be the case for former Canucks forward Anthony Beauvillier.

“I was surprised, I was in Vancouver for such a short amount of time,” Beauvillier told us on Thursday. “It was a surprise, but I’m happy to be here now, I feel it’s a great opportunity and I’m happy to be part of this group.”

“Here” is Chicago with the rebuilding Blackhawks. “Opportunity” would mean ice time, because a playoff opportunity ain’t happening this season. With the trade on November 28th, “Beau” went from near the top of the NHL standings to rock bottom.

After speaking with Vancouver Hockey Insider, he and his Blackhawks went out and got crushed by the Seattle Kraken 7-1 at Climate Pledge Arena. Chicago has the fewest points in the NHL, 19, and played much of the game in beer league shifts.

With personnel moves, we often hear references to “it’s a business”. In this case, that phrase couldn’t be more appropriate: Money and winger out, less money and defenceman in.

Beauvillier took his $4.15-million cap hit with him to Chicago. Two days later the Canucks brought in big defenceman Nikita Zadorov and his $3.750-million salary to Vancouver. Both men are in the final year of their respective deals and are soon-to-be unrestricted free agents.

Beauvillier is well aware of the dollars and cents behind his deal.

“I know they were looking to clear up some cap space and bring in a defenceman and they did that right after, so I think that’s the reason why,” he told us.

Isles To Canucks To Hawks

Beauvillier was selected by the New York Islanders in the late-1st-round of the 2015 NHL Draft and spent the first six-and-a-half seasons of his career with the club. That’s when he was shipped west with prospect forward Aatu Raty and a 2023 1st-round draft pick for Canucks captain Bo Horvat on January 30th.

In 33 games with Vancouver last season, Beauvillier picked up nine goals and 11 assists before adding just eight more points in 22 games this season. He was expendable, somewhat expensive, and the writing was on the wall given head coach Rick Tocchet’s pecking order.

Come the off-season, Beauvillier will have a certain amount of say in whether he sticks around for a rebuild established on the shoulders of 18-year-old North Vancouver native and rookie ‘phenom’ Connor Bedard.

“To get to see him on a daily basis, not only on the ice, but to see him get prepared to perform at the best level is impressive at such a young age,” Beauvillier said of Bedard. “He’s fun to watch and a great teammate also.”

No Hard Feelings

Beauvillier had no problem carefully analyzing and praising his former club in Vancouver.

“I think they have a really good core there, the talent base is off the charts,” he said. “You can see (Quinn) Hughes, (Elias) Pettersson, (J.T.) Miller, (Brock) Boesser’s having a great year. They’re well coached, they’re prepared every night, they work hard, they go after each other in practice, they compete, they really do. No I’m not surprised by any means.”

The Blackhawks host the Canucks on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier Friday:

— Canucks Trade: Studnicka To Sharks For Cicek And Pick

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.