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Belfast Giants sign Kyle Baun and Francis Beauvillier to 2018/19 roster

By Adam McKendry

THE Stena Line Belfast Giants have further strengthened their roster for the new season with the signings of former NHL winger Kyle Baun and forward Francis Beauvillier.

The pair are two more quality additions to the Giants’ roster for their Elite League title challenge having joined from AHL sides the Toronto Marlies and Manitoba Moose respectively.

Baun, the 200th player to represent Belfast in team history, spent time in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015, dressing for five games, and he was added to their playoff roster in 2017 as well.

In all, the 26-year old Canadian has iced in 188 games in the AHL where he’s scored 20 goals and 65 points for the Rockford IceHogs, Laval Rockets and the Marlies combined. Last year Baun played under Sheldon Keefe, the brother of Giants head coach Adam Keefe, for the Marlies.

The Toronto native is also a former college star with Colgate University, for whom he scored 39 goals and 79 points in 113 games between 2012 and 2015, where he was a team-mate of Darcy Murphy.

His performances earned him two nominations to the NCAA All-Academic team in his first two years and a nomination to the All-Rookie Team in his first year.

Baun is also the grandson of four-time Stanley Cup winner Bob Baun, who represented the Toronto Maple Leafs, California/Oakland Seals and the Detroit Red Wings across an 18-year career at the highest level.

Beauvillier, the 201st Giant and the older brother of New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier, joins after two seasons with the Manitoba Moose, where he registered six goals and 13 points in 52 games.

The 24-year old left wing is a former sixth round draft pick of the Florida Panthers in 2012 after impressing in the QMJHL, but opted to join the University of New Brunswick in 2014 after a brief stint in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage and two solid overage seasons in the QMJHL.

The Canadian out of Sorel-Tracy potted 27 goals and 59 points in 81 games for the Brunswick Reds in three years, helping them to two University Cups and earning him a deal with Manitoba at the end of his studies.

Despite attending the Columbus Blue Jackets’ training camp in 2016, Beauvillier has opted to make the switch Belfast instead of returning to the Moose next season.

Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe told Belfast Giants TV: “My brother gave me a great review for Kyle Baun, though it was his tie to Darcy Murphy and Spiro Goulakos that really helped us after starting a friendship in Colgate University.

“Our players are our best recruiters in how well they speak of our city and the organisation. We are very happy to have Kyle on board.”

“Francis came straight from the University of New Brunswick to Manitoba and had a successful stint there. I believe he can have success in this league and everyone I talk to speaks highly of him.

“Francis is fast, physical and knows how to put the puck in the back of the net. A combination like that, just like we have in Darcy Murphy, can help Francis become an impact player for us.”

The arrivals of Baun and Beauvillier mark the departures of Giants forwards duo Steve Saviano and John Kurtz, whose numbers #12 and #21 they will inherit.

36-year old winger Saviano, who wore the “A” last year, was a consistent points producer in his two years in Belfast as he notched 43 goals and 114 points in 128 games for the Giants.

Kurtz, meanwhile, was relied upon in a restricted bottom-six role for Adam Keefe’s side last season, but still contributed 16 goals and 33 points in 58 games as well as scoring in the Challenge Cup final win over Cardiff.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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