Jay Beagle may be asked to kill more penalties in 2015-16. This photo has nothing to do with that.
The Washington Capitals aren’t a great penalty-killing team, and they might get worse this season. With the exits of Troy Brouwer and Joel Ward, the Caps have lost two of their top-five penalty killers (in terms of shorthanded minutes played per game). Those departures are going to mark a big shift in PK workloads this season.
Brooks Laich, Jay Beagle, and Jason Chimera (who all should get bottom-six minutes during 5v5) will be asked to pick up more PK time, but so too will the young guys like Wilson, Burakovsky, and Kuznetsov. It’s possible that the shake-up will knock the Caps– currently in the league’s bottom third judging by shot attempts allowed while shorthanded– even lower in the list.
Then again, maybe not. The Caps are only two seasons removed from being the worst penalty-killing team in known history. Maybe an overhaul in their available killers is exactly what they need to stop giving away fist-fulls of scoring chances like leftover Bit-O-Honeys on the day after Halloween. Sure, Ward had skills, but the numbers say that Brouwer was not appreciably better at suppressing shots than Beagle or Brooks. This could be a good thing.
There may be a tough adjustment period while the Caps figure out how to manage their PK time and roster, but I’m optimistic. By sometime in November I think the PK will stabilize and actually assert itself as, ya know, not terrible.
I dream big, people.
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