They will always be a part of our Capitals’ family. A part of the history and lore of the Capitals’ Stanley Cup season. And like (most) family members, we occasionally wonder how they’re doing. Alex Chiasson, Jay Beagle and Philipp Grubauer left Washington having visited the mountain top, as Stanley Cup champions. So how has the change been going for our family members? Here’s the latest on the three former Capitals and how they are doing with their new teams.
Alex Chiasson – Edmonton Oilers
To refresh your memory, Stanley Cup Champion Alex Chiasson had nine goals and nine assists in 61 games played in the regular season and one goal and one assist in 16 postseason games for the Capitals last season. The Edmonton Oilers signed the forward to a one-year contract after he appeared in Oilers training camp on a professional tryout contract. The contract was for one season at the league minimum $650,000. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Alex has had an up-and-down season for the Oilers, but when you spend time on lines with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl, even your seasonal dips are going to look good. Chiasson has had a career year with regards to scoring. After a blazing-hot start, then a stretch with no goals, Chiasson is still having a chart-topping year, registering 18 goals and 11 assists in 56 games played. Six of his goals for the Oilers have come on the power play. He registered just one power play goal last year with the Capitals. Lately, Chiasson has played on the second line with Milan Lucic and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. However, not is all Rosie for Mr. Chiasson. The Oilers are currently eight points out of a wild card spot and will likely miss the playoffs.
Philipp Grubauer – Colorado Avalanche
As you may recall, Stanley Cup Champion (and fan favorite) back-up goaltender Phillip Grubauer provided a vital role in the Capitals run to their first Stanley Cup. Grubauer was solid in net in his backup roll, and also held down the fort in a starters roll when Braden Holtby was faltering torwards the end of the season. Grubauer finished his 2017-2018 campaign with a 15-10-3 record and a 2.35 GAA and .923 save percentage in 35 appearances for the Capitals.
Grubauer, along with defenseman Brooks Orpik, were traded to the Colorado Avalanche for a second-round draft pick (#47 overall) in the 2018 NHL entry draft. The move also (indirectly) included cash, as the Avalanche bought-out Orpik’s final year of his contract, allowing him to re-sign with the Capitals at a reduced cost. (The Capitals used the draft pick to select Kody Clark from Ottawa of the OHL) The Avalanche announced the day after the trade that they had signed Grubauer to a three-year contract extension worth a total of $10 million ($3.33 million AAV). Grubauer’s season, much like Colorado’s, has not gone as well. He is 10-8-3 with a 3.21 GAA and a .897 save percentage. In addition, Grubauer continues to play a back-up role in Colorado (to former Caps Goaltender Semyon Varlamov). The Avalanche are two games above .500 and will miss the playoffs.
Jay Beagle – Vancouver Canucks
Beagle was not only a fan-favorite, but a member of the teams “leadership group”, a critical component to the Capitals penalty kill and team expert at the faceoff dot. Beagle’s “lead-by-example” leadership style can also not be understated. The 32-year-old center had 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 79 games for the Capitals last season and ranked first on the Capitals with a 58.5 face-off win percent. He had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Beagle won a Stanley Cup, but facing possibly his last big contract of his professional hockey career, decided to chase money closer to home. Nobody can blame a family man for that. In the end, Beagle signed a four-year, $12 million contract ($3 million average annual value) with the Vancouver Canucks on July 1. Beags had a rough start for the Canucks, and broke his arm (by blocking a shot on a penalty kill, naturally), and missed a decent chunk of the beginning of the season, including the Capitals stop in Vancouver in October. Beagle has two goals and six assists in 42 games played so far this season. He leads the Canucks in FOW% at 54.9%. Vancouver is eight points out of a wild card spot, and will most likely miss the postseason.
Beags probably summed things up the best, when he received his Stanley Cup ring from the Capitals last fall in Vancouver. “I truly do miss you guys. You are family,” Beagle told the visiting Capitals then. “We went through something that we’ll never forget.”
By Jon Sorensen