Capitals center Jay Beagle underwent a successful surgery on his hand this morning and is expected to resume full hockey activities in six weeks, the team said in a statement on Saturday.
According to video replays, Beagle’s left hand (his top hand on his stick) was slashed by Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe with 5:40 remaining in the second period of the Capitals’ win over the Sabres on Wednesday night.
Beagle was trying to glove an airborne puck when McCabe swiped at the puck with his stick and struck Beagle in the hand. Beagle tried to play the puck seconds later but retreated to the bench holding his left hand.
If Beagle misses a full six weeks following today’s surgery, he would be scheduled to return to the Caps’ lineup sometime around Feb. 13 against the Dallas Stars. That would result in a total of 19 games missed due to the injury.
Beagle had nailed down the role of third-line center for the Caps, recording six goals, six assists, 14 penalty minutes and a plus-1 rating while averaging14:22 of ice time. He also ranks as the top faceof men in the NHL, winning 58.4 percent of his draws, and led all Caps forwards in shorthanded ice time, averaging 2:04 a game (one second more than Brooks Laich).
If the Capitals decide to fill the void from within, centers Michael Latta and perhaps Zach Sill could be asked to increase their roles, while Laich, Andre Burakovsky and Marcus Johansson may be asked to move from left wing to center.
If the Caps decide to look outside their organization, they may consider trading for a center – Arizona’s Martin Hanzal and Toronto’s Tyler Bozak are believed to be ion the market – or look into signing a center not playing in the NHL, such as Mike Richards or Derek Roy, who was cut in training camp and is now playing for Bern in the Swiss League.
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