The progression of Jay Beagle was one of the highlights from Dale Hunter’s tenure as Capitals coach last season. After a concussion sidelined him for two and a half months at the beginning of the year, Beagle gained Hunter’s trust and earned increased responsibility and ice time with it.
Beagle became Washington’s shutdown centerman, matching up against some of the top forward lines in the league, in addition to his penalty-killing and faceoff duties. For all the progress he made last season, though, Beagle knows he must now earn the respect of new Coach Adam Oates.
After just a brief introductory conversation, Beagle likes what he’s hearing from his new bench boss and described Oates as an “easy guy to talk to.”
“I’m looking forward to having him behind the bench,” said Beagle, who signed a three-year contract extension worth $2.7 million with the Capitals on Thursday.
“He’s already mentioned a few little things I can work on and be working on in the summer,” Beagle said. “He has been watching video and he’s picked out little things you can improve on. I think that’s unbelievable to hear that from him, that already it seems like he cares about the development and he cares about you as a player to try to get you the best that you can be.”
Beagle said his broken foot, an injury that occurred in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against New York, has fully recovered and he’s already two weeks into his usual offseason workout program. Safe to say his reputation as a workout enthusiast is intact.
The 26-year-old said he plans to start skating next week and that he’s on track to be ready for training camp, assuming that it would open on time pending the resolution of a new collective bargaining agreement.
“The foot healed up completely. I have no problems with it — the flexibility on my foot and ankle everything’s come right back to normal,” Beagle said. “I’m already in full stride with training so I don’t see why this should slow me down at all. I should be able to hit training camp like I did last year and try and be in the best shape I can be in as possible. As soon as Karl [Alzner] comes back from his honeymoon I’ll start pushing him too.”
A few additional free agent notes:
— Mike Green declined to file for salary arbitration prior to Thursday’s deadline. The only other Caps restricted free agents who were eligible for arbitration were Beagle and Mathieu Perreault, who have already re-signed.
So what does that mean? The team could take Green to arbitration, and the deadline for that is today at 5 p.m. But if they do not, the two sides will simply continue to negotiate a new deal.
John Carlson, the only other RFA from the NHL roster, was not arbitration eligible so that’s just left up to negotiation between the player and team.
Keep in mind that the qualifying offers both players received from the team expire on July 15. As for the hot-button topic of offer sheets, the Capitals have the right to match any outside offer Green or Carlson would sign. If Washington would opt not to match a deal, the team would receive draft pick compensation based on the average annual value of the contract.