BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Realizing his days were numbered in Montreal, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu welcomes the trade that sent him to the Buffalo Sabres.

Aside from the chance to get a fresh start with a Phil Housley-coached team, Beaulieu expressed relief he didn't have to deal with the uncertainty of being exposed in the NHL's expansion draft this week.

Beaulieu spoke during a conference call Sunday, a day after Buffalo acquired him in exchange for a third-round pick.

The deal was struck just before NHL teams were required to submit their protected lists for the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft.

While the Canadiens weren't expected to protect the 2011 first-round pick, Buffalo did at the expense of exposing two more high-profile - and higher-priced - defensemen in Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges.