While several teams have expressed an interest in Capitals soon-to-be unrestricted free agent center Jay Beagle, the Canucks have emerged as the front runner to sign him, reports TSN’s Bob McKenzie (Twitter link). It’s expected that he will sign a multi-year contract; Sportsnet 650’s Rick Dhaliwal suggests (via Twitter) that the contract could check in at three years and $2.5MM per season which would represent a nice raise on the $1.75MM he made the last three years.
Beagle has been a fixture with Washington for quite a while now as he has played parts of ten seasons with the team. He has consistently been above average at the faceoff dot and actually set a new career high in faceoff percentage this past season, winning 58.5% of his draws. Offensively, the 32-year-old took a bit of a step back, posting just seven goals and 15 assists after putting up 30 points (13-17-30) the year before.
It’s that particular strength along with his ability to kill penalties that will endear him to Vancouver (and other teams). The Canucks have a vacancy down the middle with the retirement of Henrik Sedin and have been believed to be seeking a ’niche’ center that can fill a role for a short period of time while their youngsters can develop with a little less pressure.