The Chicago Blackhawks and General Manager Kyle Davidson continued their trend of moving on from players drafted by the old front office regime on Wednesday morning, as the Hawks shipped former first-round pick Nicolas Beaudin to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward prospect Cameron Hillis.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) October 26, 2022
Beaudin failed to develop into what former general manager Stan Bowman hoped he would, as the 2018 27th overall pick has spent the vast majority of his professional career with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs, logging 137 total regular season games. Beaudin played in just 22 regular season games with the Blackhawks between the 2019–20 and 2021–22 seasons.
The deal also adds to the lengthy list of former first-round picks the Blackhawks have shipped out of town early in their careers, with every Hawks first-round selectee from 2008 to 2019 having played no more than 162 games with the team.
Additionally, the transaction also highlights yet another colossal failure by the Bowman administration, as the Blackhawks elected to pass on drafting defenseman Bowen Byram with the third overall pick in 2019 since the team had invested both of their 2018 first-round picks in Beaudin and fellow blueliner Adam Boqvist, who was shipped out of town in the Seth Jones trade with Columbus last summer. Instead, the Hawks selected forward Kirby Dach, who has since also left town when he was also dealt to the Canadiens at the draft this summer.
In Hillis, the Blackhawks are receiving nothing more than an organizational depth forward. Hillis suited up for one game for the Canadiens in the 2021–22 season, but has spent the rest of his professional career between the AHL and ECHL. Hillis had spent the beginning of this season with the ECHL’s Trois-Rivières Lions before the trade.
In a separate but related transaction, the IceHogs sent forward Riley McKay to the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket, in exchange for future considerations.
— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) October 26, 2022
Hillis, a 2018 third-rounder of Montreal, has been assigned to Rockford, where he will likely spend much of the rest of the season.