2013-14 Rink Wrap: Jay Beagle

Photo by Clyde Caplan/clydeorama.com

From Alzner to Wilson, we're taking a look at and grading the 2013-14 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2014-15. Next up, Jay Beagle.

Japers' Rink Player Card (click for a hi-res version, and a glossary of terms used in this post can be found here; data via Extra Skater, Behind the Net, Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com, CapGeek and NHL.com):

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Backstrom and his most frequent linemates (via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com) and lines (via our own Muneeb):

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2013-14 Capitals 5v5 Forward Usage, via Extra Skater:

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Beagle's Past Three Seasons (via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com):

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Key Stat: Beagle's 5-on-5 goals-for percentage was a Caps forward-worst 35.5%. That's partly thanks to a low - even by Beagle standards - 4.5% on-ice shooting percentage and 979 PDO.

Interesting Stat: The Capitals were 8-13-2 in games when Beagle had a Corsi percentage of at least 50%. Beagle's top performance was 81.8% in a 5-1 loss to Colorado.

The Good: Beagle tied a career-high in goals (four) and set a new career-high in points (nine) after his first-career multi-goal game - the penultimate game of the season, at home against Chicago. He also set new career bests in games played (62) and shots on goal (60).

In mid-March, Beagle - who boasted the third-best 5-on-5 goals against per 60 minutes mark among team forwards, behind only frequent linemates Aaron Volpatti and Tom Wilson - was paired with Alex Ovechkin to bring a stronger defensive presence to a line that had been bleeding goals against, and the move served its purpose. Leading up to the change, with Ovechkin on the ice, the Caps had allowed 10 goals in nine games. During the experiment, Ovechkin was on the ice for five goals against at five-on-five in seven games, none of which came during the team's California road trip. And, at times, Beagle's board work even made him look like he might have something to contribute to that line offensively.

The Bad: While Beagle may have helped the Ovechkin line defensively at that point of the season, relative to the entire season, Ovechkin was on-ice for more goals against per 20 minutes with Beagle than without. Beagle also contributed to the Ovechkin line's dearth of even-strength offense - the Caps did not score a single goal with both Ovechkin and Beagle on the ice at five-on-five.

Not a player known for offensive instincts or puck skills, Beagle's per-game boxcars weren't notably different this season compared to last season, but his Corsi percentage was noticeably worse, despite, at 5-on-5, slightly worse competition (as measured by ice time) and better teammates (including a good deal of Ovechkin). While last season, to an extent, Beagle compensated for his even-strength shortcomings by contributing over two minutes a game on the PK, this season, he was under a minute.

And since plus-minus seems to have everyone interested this season, Beagle was the Caps' worst forward outside of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Marcus Johansson at minus-nine - a half-dozen marks below his previous worst of minus-3 and half of his career minus-18.

The GIF (by Capitals Hill):

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In one of the prettier plays of the season, Mike Green joined the attack and found Tom Wilson across the ice. Wilson sent the puck back across the slot to a wide-open Beagle, who controlled it with his left skate and scored into an open net. It was the team's third goal of its 5-0 win at Montreal on January 25, which ended a seven-game losing skid.

The Vote: Rate Beagle below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

The Discussion: Can Beagle realistically be the center of a strong fourth line for Washington? Can he be a passable stopgap center higher in the lineup if a player ahead of him gets injured? Would you say he was a victim or beneficiary of curious coaching decisions in 2013-14? What would it take for you to give him a "10" next year?

Beagle

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