Free agent Jay Beagle signs with Vancouver

Brian Tinsman
July 01, 2018 - 11:48 pm
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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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The Washington Capitals knew they wouldn't be able to keep everyone after winning the first Stanley Cup in franchise history, but losing Jay Beagle will be among the most painful departures this offseason.

Beagle was scooped up by the Vancouver Canucks in the opening salvo of NHL free agency, signing a four-year, $12 million contract with a team in his native Canada.

"Jay is a detailed player with championship experience, who can handle a big defensive workload," Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement. "He's grown and developed his 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."

While rather generic, that's pretty high praise for a player who went undrafted and was signed to the Caps in 2007. He spent his entire career here and told the media during the playoffs that he couldn't imagine playing anywhere else. A lot can change once Stanley Cup dreams are realized.

Beagle will be remembered by his peers as a dynamic threat at center, with a key role in the Caps' penalty kill. Not only did that unit serve as a consistent strength throughout the regular season and Stanley Cup run, but Beagle was also capable of scoring short-handed goals, really turning the tide on opposing teams.

When he hoisted the Stanley Cup Trophy in Las Vegas last month, he became the first player in NHL history to win championships at the ECHL, AHL and NHL levels, further illustrating his impact on championship squads and his long arc to the NHL level.

His time in Washington comes to a close with 116 points (51-65-116) and 159 penalty minutes in 471 career regular season games. He also appeared in 85 NHL playoff games, scoring 19 points (8-11-19) and 36 penalty minutes.

Beagle isn't on Twitter, so most of his teammates are reaching out personally, rather than sharing their thoughts publicly. Tom Wilson did both:

The Caps will work to find a replacement for Beagle, but he will be missed.

 

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