Third-line center Jay Beagle will be out for an “extended period of time” and will need surgery for an “upper-body” injury he suffered on Wednesday night, Washington Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said. Trotz said Beagle will likely be put on injured reserve.
Beagle had a 25-second shift with just under six minutes left in the second period, and he didn’t return to the game after that. The team ruled him out during the second intermission.
Beagle down the tunnel after this…someone call a vet. pic.twitter.com/Gacpx0QB8l
— Stephanie (@myregularface) December 31, 2015
Beagle was on pace for his best season, with six goals and 12 points. Beagle has played more shorthanded minutes than any other forward, and is Washington’s best player in the faceoff circle, ranked fourth in the league with a 58.1 percentage.
He’s called third-line center his dream job, and he’s had that role for the Capitals in every game this season. When Beagle was an unrestricted free agent this summer, Trotz said he was the player that other Capitals texted him about most, concerned whether he would return this season. Washington’s re-signed Beagle to a $5.25 million, three-year contract.
Nicklas Backstrom also suffered an upper-body injury during the game on Wednesday, but Trotz is hopeful Backstrom will play at Carolina on Thursday. Center Michael Latta, who missed Wednesday’s game with an arm injury, is also expected to play, and Washington recalled center Zach Sill on Tuesday. Brooks Laich and Andre Burakovsky also have experience playing center this season.
Injuries are starting to pile up, as top-pair defenseman Brooks Orpik, who has been out since Nov. 10, missed his 22nd consecutive game. Trotz said John Carlson, the team’s undisputed top defenseman, won’t travel with the team after an MRI exam on Wednesday morning, Carlson will miss “a few games” with a lower-body injury.
Because Carlson won’t be traveling to Carolina, the Capitals will recall another defenseman from their American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey.