The Nippon Paper Cranes will attempt to defend their Asia League title with only one import player, as the team has signed defenceman Pierre-Olivier Beaulieu as their lone import for the upcoming 2009-10 campaign.
Beaulieu is a big defenceman at 195cm 97kg and had success in the ECHL and the 2nd division of German Bundesliga. But the production of Brad Tiley (D, 36GP 25P) and Kelly Fairchild (F, 20GP 23P), who were both NHL veterans, will be missed (though the team is stacked with great Asia Leaguers including Japanese-Canadians). Will the younger (and supposedly cheaper) Beaulieu be productive enough for the Cranes to defend their title, or will going cheap and young on their import cost the Cranes the title again? (In the 2007-08 season, the Cranes replaced their ineffective cheap imports with NHL vets Jamie McLennan and Tyson Nash midseason.)