26-Year-Old Left Wing – Montreal Canadiens
Nicolas Deslauriers Contract Information:
Signed a two-year contract extension with Buffalo in June of 2016.
Deslauriers had seven hits and one shot on goal in Saturday's 6-2 loss to the Oilers.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Deslauriers appeared in all 82 games in his first full season with the Sabres, scoring five goals and 15 points while becoming a mainstay on the team's fourth line as a tireless grinder. He's expected to build on his success in his sophomore year, where he should be able to contribute a little more offensively without sacrificing his style of play. However, with a glut of bodies up front, Deslauriers will have to prove he's worthy of a full-time spot once again.
Acquired in a late-season trade from Los Angeles, the converted defenseman provides some extra offense and size on the wing. The Sabres love his physical play, but there are other aspects of Deslauriers’ game that needs to improve. In 17 games with the Sabres in 2013-14, Deslauriers managed just one goal and finished with a minus-10 rating. Deslauriers won’t play a big role for the Sabres, if at all. He needs to get more comfortable playing as a forward and prove that his 18-goal performance in the AHL was no fluke.
Deslauriers was a huge disappointment last year in his first season away from the QMJHL, registering just 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) in 61 games after averaging nearly a point-per-game in the previous season. He entered the season as the team's best offensive prospect from the blue line behind Thomas Hickey, but will need to re-establish himself this year or risk getting buried on the organizational depth chart.
Deslauriers had another fine season in the QMJHL, recording 43 points (14 G, 30 A) in 48 games. He then lead all QMJHL blueliners in playoff scoring (5 G, 15 A in 24 games) as he took his team to the finals. He's the Kings' best offensive prospect among their blueliners behind Thomas Hickey and bears watching as he enters the pro ranks.
Deslauriers was selected in the third round of the 2009 Entry draft out of the QMJHL. The Kings are stocked with young blueliners so he'll have a hard time distinguishing himself within the organization. There's no reason to get excited here until he moves up a few levels.