Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images
Jay Beagle is without a doubt, one of the hardest-working and defensively responsible members of the Capitals’ offensive corps, and those traits alone are one reason why the undrafted center has been so successful at the NHL level. Throughout the last few seasons, Beagle has become adept at the faceoff dot, and this season is exceptionally impressive.
According to Capitals PR, Of his last 34 faceoffs, Beagle has won an astounding 30 of them (good enough for a faceoff win percentage of 88.24%), including 20 of 22 in the defensive zone (90.1%) and five of six while shorthanded (an appropriate percentage of 83.3%). In the Capitals’ game against the Ottawa Senators on February alone, Beagle won a team-high 17 faceoffs; similarly, his 92.9 win percentage against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Capitals 5-2 Stadium Series win this past Saturday was the highest of any NHL player in a single game with at least 10 draws in games played through March 5.
In terms of his place in the entire NHL faceoff win column, Beagle is tied for fourth-place in faceoff win percentage among players with at least 700 faceoffs drawn (Beagle has won 476 faceoffs on 827 draws, good enough for a 57.6 win percentage. He ranks second among players with at least 300 defensive zone draws (295 wins on 497 faceoff draws for an astoundingly good 59.4 win percentage), and FIRST among players with at least 200 shorthanded faceoff draws (108 wins on 204 draws, a 52.9%). To show effective the pending unrestricted free agent has been on the faceoff dot, he ranks fifth among NHL players with at least 1,000 draws since the 2014-15 season (1,687 wins on 2,955 draws, good enough for a 57.1 win percentage).
Beagle may not put up major point totals on the board, but he brings much more value to the Caps through his defensive game and on the dot. Beagle has a 56.2 win percentage on faceoffs and has a beastly 63.0% at even-strength when the game is tied. In the playoffs, Beagle has been equally effective, winning 56.7% of his draws in the postseason during his NHL career. With his contract set to expire at the conclusion of the season, it will be interesting to see whether the Caps are able to retain their best faceoff man and one of their most defensively-responsible forwards.
By Michael Fleetwood
The real question for the Caps is whether they have anyone in the system who can come close to replicating Beagle’s phenomenal faceoff numbers. Trotz has been putting Beagle into strategically important situations to take draws, even if it means mixing lines. Losing him will leave a gaping hole in a critical skills area.
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