The Portland Pirates are going to count on every player in the lineup to provide offense this season, and some more than others.
Mathieu Beaudoin is certainly going to be a player who the Pirates will rely on to provide offense on a consistent basis thorough out the season.
“He’s a hard worker,” said Pirates head coach Ray Edwards. “He’s incredibly relentless with his work ethic and a guy who we will look toward for offense on a regular basis. He’s was nearly a point a game player for us in San Antonio and we’ll need that again this season.”
Beaudoin, who re-signed with the Coyotes during the summer, got the season started with a bang by scoring a pair of goals including the game-winner in the Pirates opening game of the season as they defeated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-2, at Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.
“It was nice to get off to a strong start,” said Beaudoin. “I had a good year last year (with San Antonio) and I know I can improve so that’s what I’m working on every day.”
Beaudoin, who hails from Sherbrooke, Quebec, re-signed with the Coyotes during the summer after leading San Antonio in points (21g, 30a). Adding to that… once he learned the Coyotes were moving their minor league operations to Portland, getting the deal done took on a greater importance.
“At the end of last season it was a matter of getting my contract done because I want to be a part of this organization,” said Beaudoin. “Once I heard the team was coming to Portland it added a little more importance to getting the deal done because it’s close to home. I’ve heard so many good things about (Portland).”
“(Saturday) is going to be fun. We’ve been waiting for this day since we’ve moved from San Antonio.”
Beaudoin, 27, went the collegiate route, going to Ohio State University before joining the Arizona Sundogs of the CHL as an undrafted player.
He toiled through the ECHL and the AHL before landing a contract with the Houston Aeros, who went to the Western Conference Finals in 2009. In 2010, he played for the Texas Stars organization that went to the Calder Finals against the Hershey Bears.
Beaudoin feels it was those two seasons that landed him a job in the Coyotes organization.
“They wanted me and that’s a good start,” he said. “I battled hard the past five years to try to make it in this league. Phoenix really gave me a chance to be on an NHL contract so that was my first step to get (to the NHL). I was really happy when they offered me a contract after my year with Texas (Stars).”
“They told me that they watched a lot of me playing, and wanted me on their side. I was flattered by those comments and happy to be part of the organization.”
The Pirates will have a new face in the lineup when they open the home portion of their schedule on Saturday night. The Coyotes assigned forward Kyle Chipchura to Portland on Friday and he’s expected to play on for the Pirates on Saturday when the face off against the Manchester Monarchs.
Chipchura had a solid camp and earned a spot on the opening night roster, but with 14 forwards and 23 players, Coyotes Asst. GM Brad Treliving said they wanted to have a little more flexibility in the roster.
“We wanted to see how we fared (on Thursday) in Nashville injury-wise so once we made it through that unscaved we made the move to assign (Chipchura) to Portland,” said Treliving. “We have 23 players on the roster and with (Chris) Summers up and (Michal) Rozsival on IR this gives us some flexibility and after this weekend we’ll see where we go from there.”
With Chipchura assignment to Portland, they currently have seven veterans on the roster, but Marc-Anthoine Pouliot is expected out of the lineup this weekend as he recovers from pneumonia and Alex Bolduc is rehabbing from shoulder surgery and not expected back until sometime in January.
(Front page photo by Rosina Vacchiano)