Both sides had entered summer knowing they wanted to discuss a new deal for the center, a pending unrestricted free agent who set career-highs with 10 goals, 10 assists and 20 points last season, and talks ramped up before the NHL draft last weekend. He will make $1.45 million next season with a $300,000 bonus, then $1.75 million for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
“We are pleased to re-sign Jay to a new three-year contract,” general manager Brian MacLellan said in a news release. “Jay is a hard-working player who plays multiple positions and is an excellent face-off man and penalty killer. Jay has improved steadily since joining our organization and has always brought his game to a different level in the playoffs.”
At his breakdown day interview, MacLellan had lumped Beagle into Washington’s crop of restricted free agents, forming the assumption that the Capitals intended to bring him back. Under Coach Barry Trotz, the 29-year-old saw an expanded role, mostly centering either the third or fourth lines. On several occasions, Trotz also promoted him for brief stints to top-line right wing, including for the Winter Classic.
Right now, Beagle projects as a fourth-line center for the 2015-16 season, his sixth with the Capitals. A Calgary native, he joined the organization with the Hershey Bears in 2007-08, winning back-to-back Calder Cups, and made his NHL debut in 2008-09. He won 56.5 percent of his draws last season, including a whopping 63.8 percent during the playoffs, best among anyone with at least 100 attempts.
The re-signing, which formally brings the Capitals above the salary cap floor, gives them roughly $18.3 million in available space, according to GeneralFanager.com. They still plan to resolve extensions with Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby, and fill out depth spots, including a third-line center and seventh defenseman.
Beagle is scheduled to speak on a teleconference later Monday. Check back later for updates then. Teammate John Carlson shared his enthusiasm for the deal.