When general manager Jim Benning signed then unrestricted free agent forwards Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel and Tim Schaller on July 1st, 2018, the Vancouver Canucks’ vocal minority on Twitter erupted with calls for his head-on-a-platter. Many of the joystickers of social media tend to see players as video game characters instead of real people, some of whom bring more to the hockey table then simply raw numbers. Jay Beagle is one of those special players.
Jay beagle would be a good signing if the Canucks didn’t already have five Jay Beagles on the roster.— Brad Zubyk (@Bzubyk) July 1, 2018
Then raw rookie center Adam Gaudette was candid about the example Jay Beagle set for him immediately upon his arrival in Vancouver. Is there much doubt now that Beagle has played a huge part in his development into one of the best third line centers in the NHL?
Vancouver is a tough hockey market but also a strange one. In a recent poll I ran on Twitter, nearly 9% of fans admitted they will actively cheer for the opposition Minnesota Wild in the Canucks’ upcoming play-in series. I’ve watched the NHL for well over half a century now and I’ve never seen an NHL fan base even contemplate such an act of hockey treason. Beagle protege Gaudette has no time for those who would cheer against their own team.
You can bet that four time professional hockey champion, Jay Beagle, will not be laying down against the Wild for a 12.5% shot at 2020 Entry Draft door prize Alexis Lafreniere. He will instead be shooting for a fifth pro title. He already is the only hockey player in history to raise all three North American professional leagues’ silverware above his head.
Jay Beagle— Chris Conte (@ChrisConte79) June 29, 2018
ECHL Kelly Cup Champ
AHL 2x Calder Cup Champ
NHL Stanley Cup Champ
He’s a good mentor for the young kids in Vancouver. Period.
When hockey head-honcho Benning signed Jay Beagle, he was clear on his reasoning. It was all about leadership and mentorship and not about offensive numbers. Beagle excels at winning face offs and killing penalties. He does the dirty work that frees the Ovechkins and Pettersons of the hockey world to unleash their offensive mastery on the opposition team.
Jim Benning on Beagle signing : "Jay is a detailed player with championship experience, who can handle a big defensive workload. He's grown and developed his game with a core group of players and won at every level of pro hockey." #Canucks— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) July 1, 2018
That said, Beagle does possess some offensive finish when he gets a chance in the offensive zone. He has been hampered though by shot-blocking injuries since joining the Canucks. He has only scored 5 goals in 112 games in the blue-and-green uniform to-date. In his career, he has lit the lamp 56 times during the regular season and 8 times in the post season. His regular season career high is 13 goals which he tallied on behalf of the 2016/17 Washington Capitals.
Since joining the Canucks, Beagle’s face off winning percentage has actually improved. Already one of the league’s top red dot men, he has increased his 56.4% success percentage with the Capitals to a 57.6% positive rate with Vancouver. This season he posted a 59.14% winning percentage for third place in the NHL. Philadelphia Flyers’ centerman Sean Couturier finished in first place with 59.62% and teammate J.T. Miller placed second at 59.19%.
The Canucks’ penalty killing success rate of 80.5% ranked mid pack at 16th in the league this season. During the 2017/18 season, prior to Beagle’s arrival, the team finished 19th in the league with a kill percentage of 79.9%. In his first season as a Canuck, the club placed 10th in the league with a success rate of 80.8%. The positive percentage suffered when Beagle and his penalty-killing partner Brandon Sutter were absent from the line-up due to various injuries. The team that leads the NHL in PK statistics usually extinguishes odd man disadvantages at a rate of 83% to 84%. If a healthy Beagle can help increase the Canucks’ success rate by 3% then it will go a long way to helping the team reach its goal of playoffs success this post season.
“The goal is the Stanley Cup...You enjoy it tonight and then you get refocused.” — Jay Beagle on keeping things in perspective after Monday’s series-clinching win in Pittsburgh. #CapsPens #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/G5QBq5LAsT— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) May 8, 2018
It appears only 91.3% of Vancouver Canucks’ fans are pulling for their team to defeat the Minnesota Wild in their upcoming play-in series inside the NHL bubble in Edmonton. If the team of many colours eliminates the Wild in their play-in series then hopefully 100% of Canucks’ supporters will unite behind Beagle and his mates in the hopes of seeing him raise his arms above his head once again some time during this coming October.