Jay Beagle

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With Caps in Vancouver, Jay Beagle receives his ring

With Caps in Vancouver, Jay Beagle receives his ring

On June 7 in Las Vegas, Jay Beagle was in a Capitals uniform as they hoisted their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Three weeks later, the 33-year-old signed a four-year, $12-million contract with the Vancouver Canucks

The Capitals begin a four-game, Canadian road trip this evening in Vancouver. Beagle did not attend the Capitals ring ceremony at the Palm three weeks ago so the Caps awarded Beagle with his ring today.

Each ring contains 252 diamonds, 35 rubies and one sapphire. Beagle was impressed but isn't sure how much use the ring will get.

“Not sure I’ll wear it again. It’s like wearing my truck.”

Jay Beagle will not be on the ice tonight against his former team. Beagle broke his forearm when he blocked a shot against the Florida Panthers on October 13th. Beagle is expected to be sidelined for another five weeks.

Despite the injury, it has still been a great week for Beagle. 

A shiny, new ring AND a baby girl. Not too shabby.

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Key Caps questions: How much will the loss of Jay Beagle impact the Capitals?

Key Caps questions: How much will the loss of Jay Beagle impact the Capitals?

The dog days of summer are officially here, but it's never too hot to talk some hockey.

Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir and Capitals correspondent JJ Regan are here to help you through the offseason doldrums. They will discuss key questions facing the Caps for the upcoming season as Washington prepares to defend its title for the first time in franchise history.

Today's question: How much will the loss of Jay Beagle impact the team?

Tarik: Jay Beagle’s absence will be felt in a number of areas. Among the most obvious ones:

  • On draws, where he boasted the fourth best faceoff win percentage (58.5) in the NHL last season. When the Caps absolutely needed to win a D-zone draw in recent years, Beags was the guy and he often delivered.
  • On the penalty kill, where he accrued more shorthanded ice time per game than any other Caps’ forward by nearly 45 seconds. The coaches’ trusted Beagle to win draws, make the right read and, when necessary, eat a point blast. It’s not a glorious job, but it’s one Beagle embraced.
  • Off the ice, where his folksy charm made him extremely popular among his teammates, fans and the media. Beagle is a self-made man, having taken the circuitous route to a full-time NHL job, and his work ethic is contagious.

All that said, letting him walk was absolutely the decision that had to be made when you factor in the big raises due to John Carlson, Tom Wilson and Michal Kempny and the smaller salary bumps required for Devante Smith-Pelly, Madison Bowey and Travis Boyd.

Beagle, who turns 33 in October, ended up signing in Vancouver, where he’ll earn $3 million per over the next four years. That math simply wasn’t doable in Washington given the team’s star-laden lineup and the fourth line role he plays.

To overcome Beagle’s loss, the Caps’ centers, as a collective, will need to step up their efficiency in the faceoff circle as there likely won’t be a go-to in critical situations next season. Meanwhile, Wilson, Lars Eller, Chandler Stephenson and others will need to fill the void on the penalty kill.

My prediction? Losing Beags is going to hurt a bit, particularly early on as the bottom-six and penalty kill roles get sorted out. But, by midseason, a younger, cheaper, more offensive-minded option (think: Boyd, Stephenson or Nic Dowd) will be making his mark as the fourth line pivot.

JJ: Beagle may be a fourth line center, but one aspect of his game in which he was among the best in the league was the face-off. Tarik quoted the stats above, but he finished fourth in the NHL winning 58.5-percent of the draws he took. The Caps are going to miss that aspect of his game dearly.

Lars Eller (49.3) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (44.2) both finished with win percentages below .500. Backstrom had a winning percentage, but with only 51.2-percent, there's no clear go-to guy on the face-off anymore.

When you go back and watch last season, Beagle was taking almost every critical draw. He would even start 3-on-3 overtime and quickly make his way to the bench after winning possession.

Face-offs are a critical aspect of the game and if the Caps cannot get possession of the puck at critical moments, that is going to cost them some points this season.

From a personal level, Beagle was a joy in the locker room for both teammates and media alike. For several years now you always hear the players talk about how much they love playing with this team, how much the players enjoy being around one another. Beagle was a big part of that.

Beagle was not shy on breakdown day about his desire to stay in Washington, but when you see what he ultimately signed for in Vancouver there's no question the Caps made the right move in letting him go. The Caps have only about $1 million left under the cap ceiling. Had Washington kept Beagle, one would assume the team would not have signed Nic Dowd. If you add Dowd's $650k back to the cap, that's still less than $2 million of cap space to work with. Beagle's new deal is worth $3 million per year.

Who would you be willing to lose to keep Beagle? That's a really tough question to answer.

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Three weeks after helping the Caps to the Cup, center Jay Beagle signs with Vancouver Canucks

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Three weeks after helping the Caps to the Cup, center Jay Beagle signs with Vancouver Canucks

After a decade in the Capitals organization, fan favorite Jay Beagle is moving on, just three weeks after helping Washington to its first Stanley Cup championship.

Beagle inked a four-year free agent deal with the Canucks on Sunday.

The annual average value of the deal is $3 million. The fourth-line center earned $1.75 million with the Caps last season.

Shortly after the deal with Vancouver was announced, Beagle said on a conference call that the Caps had informed him in recent days that they could not compete with the other teams bidding for his services.

“We waited, obviously, quite a while,” Beagle said. “And then when teams started the reaching out, [Caps GM Brian MacLellan] had called my agent and said that we’re just not going to be there, that the Caps aren’t going to be there. So we kinda left it at that.”

Beagle added that he planned to call MacLellan later Sunday to thank him for the opportunity he received in D.C.

As much as it will pain some fans to see ‘Beags’ suit up for another team, it was the right move for the player and for the Caps.

For Beagle, who turns 33 in October, the security of a four-year deal plus a guaranteed $12 million in salary was too much to pass up. The move also brings him back to Western Canada, which he also acknowledged was a factor. He’s from Calgary and spends his summers there.

For the Caps, losing Beagle subtracts a veteran presence and leader from the locker room. It also takes away one of the NHL’s top faceoff specialists and penalty killers from the Cup-winning roster. (He ranked fourth in faceoffs, winning 58.5-percent.)

That said, there were also a handful of reasons MacLellan had to let Beagle walk. The biggest one relates to cap management. Put simply, they needed the space to dole out raises to John Carlson, Michal Kempny, Devante Smith-Pelly and, eventually, Tom Wilson.

As far as finding a replacement for Beagle, MacLellan didn’t waste much time. Just a few minutes into free agency, he signed 28-year-old Nic Dowd to a one year deal. He also re-signed prospect Travis Boyd, another bottom six center.

The Canucks, meanwhile, are excited to add Beagle’s experience and versatility as they look to reload.

“Jay is a detailed player with championship experience, who can handle a big defensive workload,” Vancouver GM Jim Benning said in a statement. “He’s grown and developed is game with a core group of players and won at every level of pro hockey. We’re excited to add a player with his caliber of character and experience to our team.”

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