Beagle Re-Signs for Three YearsPosted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
It’s somehow fitting that Caps center Jay Beagle signed a three-year contract extension mere days before the start of the Capitals’ annual summer development camp. It was five years ago this month that Beagle first began the process of opening the eyes of the Capitals’ brass at the team’s development camp, held July 11-14, 2007. Nicklas Backstrom, Karl Alzner, Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov were also at that camp, drawing significantly more attention from onlookers than Beagle did. Even the likes of Sasha Pokulok, Joe Finley and Francois Bouchard caused much more of a stir than Beagle did when that week began at Kettler some five years ago. Beagle was arbitration-eligible this summer, but he bypassed that route and inked a three-year contract extension with Washington on Thursday. The deal pays Beagle a total of $2.7 million over the life of the pact; $700,000 for 2012-13 and $1 million in both 2013-14 and 2014-15. Beagle earned $525,000 for the 2011-12 season. Given all that has transpired in the five years since that camp, Beagle’s contract is a testament to his perseverance and his work ethic. Beagle parlayed that 2007 summer camp showing into an AHL contract for the 2007-08 season. Scoring 19 goals as an AHL rookie for a very good Hershey team, he inked his first NHL deal on March 26, 2008. He split the next three seasons between Hershey and Washington, finally cracking an opening night roster for the first time last fall. The opening night roster berth was the culmination of a hard summer’s work off the ice. “I trained really hard this summer,” Beagle told me last September. “Me and [teammate] Karl [Alzner] probably had the best summer of training. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. Training-wise, I’m ready to go. It’s just going to be a matter of getting the job done in camp and in the exhibition games. I feel like I’m there and I’m ready, and it’s just a matter of proving it now. “We did a lot of different things. One of the things we incorporated this year were a lot of hill runs to burn out the legs. We mixed in some cross-fit stuff; we wanted to incorporate that fast 40 seconds of work, kind of like a [hockey] shift. We did some Olympic lifting; we did a lot of different stuff to keep it fresh and keep it good. We went really hard this summer.” After winning that roster spot and playing in an NHL opening night contest for the first time in his career last Oct. 8, Beagle’s season went dark on Oct. 13. That’s the night Beagle fought Arron Asham in Pittsburgh, taking a punch from the Penguins’ winger that concussed him and knocked him out of action for two and a half months. Beagle was in and out of the lineup in fits and starts after returning to action in late December, but he gained the trust of coach Dale Hunter and carved out a larger role for himself in the season’s second half. Beagle averaged 11:51 per night in ice time in 2011-12, the highest mark of any of his four NHL seasons. But he often skated close to 20 minutes a night down the stretch, and averaged 18:26 per night in a dozen post-season games. Beagle totaled four goals and five points in 41 games for the Caps in 2011-12, but most of his value comes in other areas of the game. He won 57.7% of his face-offs, and by the time the playoffs rolled around, he was the team’s second most frequently deployed penalty-killing forward. Beagle also carved out a role for himself as a checking line pivot, assigned to shutdown the opposition’s top scoring lines. He suffered a broken foot in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the New York Rangers and missed the final two games of the playoffs. “There are so many people I can thank for the way I came up,” Beagle said, prior to the start of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. “Being in this organization has been great. They gave me a chance that I don’t know if many people would have. I’m just trying to make the most of it and have a lot of fun doing it. I get to play the game that I love, so obviously this organization means the world to me.” Beagle figures to man the middle of Washington’s fourth line in 2012-13. The twin signings of Beagle and Mathieu Perreault on Thursday leave Mike Green, John Carlson and Zach Hamill still unsigned among Washington’s group of restricted free agents heading into the off-season.
The Caps inked Group VI unrestricted free agent forward Ryan Stoa to a one-year, two-way contract on Saturday. While the signing is ostensibly to give AHL Hershey another viable top-six forward, Stoa is still young enough in terms of his pro development that he could be considered to have some