Beaulieu, who was recently acquired from Montreal, was one of three defensemen protected by the Sabres.

It wouldn't have made sense for the Sabres to acquire Beaulieu for a third-round pick and then potentially lose him for free to Vegas, but it also means veterans Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were left unprotected. Assuming the Sabres lose one of them to Vegas, that opens the door for Beaulieu to play a significant top-four role after scoring a career-high 28 points in 74 games with the Habs. The 24-year-old is clearly considered a piece of the future moving forward, and his two-way play should be able to take some pressure off Rasmus Ristolainen and Jake McCabe.

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