The 2022-23 NHL season is less than two months away, with training camps starting in about a month. There are still numerous Unrestricted Free Agents still on the market who have yet to sign a contract including several former Washington Capitals players. These players could be reaching the end of their NHL careers.
Jay Beagle – Beagle played with the Capitals from 2008-09 through 2017-18, having originally signed with the Capitals organization for the 2007-08 season, starting with their AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. Beagle is the only player who has won the Kelly Cup for the ECHL Championship, the Calder Cup for the AHL Championship, and the Stanley Cup for the NHL Championship.
After playing with the Capitals, Beagle has played for the Vancouver Canucks and the Arizona Coyotes. Due to injury issues, it has been reported that he is considering retirement from professional hockey.
Zdeno Chara – Chara played for the Capitals for the 2020-21 season, and played for the New York Islanders last seawon. However, he is best known for being a member of the Boston Bruins and served as their Captain for many years, including their Stanley Cup championship team of 2011 and two other appearances in the Stanley Cup Final.
Chara is 45 years old and has yet to decide if he will continue his NHL career or not. Videos of him working out have surfaced on social media, possibly indicating that he has not yet ruled out the possibility of playing another season.
Alex Chiasson – Chiasson played for the Capitals during the 2017-18 season and contributed one goal and one assist during the Capitals Stanley Cup run. Prior to the Capitals, he played for the Dallas Stars, Ottawa Senators, and Calgary Flames. After leaving the Capitals, he played for the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.
Cody Eakin – The Capitals drafted Eakin in the third round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and called him up from the Hershey Bears during the 2011-12 season. After the 2011-12 season, the Capitals traded Eakin to the Dallas Stars in the deal where they acquired Mike Ribeiro. Eakin has played with the Dallas Stars, the Vegas Knights and the Buffalo Sabres. He was a member of the 2017-18 Knights team that lost to the Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Matthieu Perreault – Perreault played for the Capitals from 2009-10 through 2012-13, drafting him in the fifth round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He was part of the Hershey Bears Calder Cup winning teams in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
The Caps traded Perreault before the 2013-14 season to the Anaheim Ducks. He has also played for the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens.
Braden Holtby – Holtby played for the Capitals from 2010-11 through 2019-20, drafting him in the fourth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He became the team’s full-time starter for the 2012-13 season after the Lockout of 2012 was over.
In 2015-16, Holtby tied Martin Brodeur’s record for most goaltending wins in a season, 48, and won the Vezina Trophy. He was the second fasted goalie to reach the 200-win threshold, trailing only Ken Dryden.
Holtby was in goal for all of the Capitals’ wins during their run to the Stanley Cup Championship and made “The Save” in the second game of the Stanley Cup Finals. He is second in goaltending wins on the Capitals’ franchise all-time list, only behind Olaf Kolzig. Holtby also set an NHL record for most wins in his first 500 games.
After leaving the Capitals he played for the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars. He suffered a lower-body injury in early March of 2021-22 and missed the remainder of the season. It is likely he will not play during 2022-23 and retirement is a possibility.
The aforementioned players have all brought great memories to Capitals fans throughout the last decade, whether with the team or in an opposing uniform. Good luck and Godspeed to Jay Beagle, Zdeno Chara, Alex Chiasson, Cody Eakin, Braden Holtby, and Mathieu Perreault in the next phases of their lives, whether that includes playing in the NHL, remaining in hockey in a non-playing role, or moving on to a different enterprise, entirely.
Stats obtained from Cap Friendly, Hockey Reference, and NHL.com
By Diane Doyle
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