Reigning Jack Adams Trophy winner Barry Trotz decided to mix up the lines at practice Monday after the Caps’ poor outing against the Carolina Hurricanes. They are something.
Jay Beagle is the Washington Capitals new top line center.
Ovechkin – Beagle – Burakovsky/Connolly
Johansson – Backstrom – Oshie
Sanford – Kuznetsov – Williams
Winnik – Eller – Wilson
— Jill Sorenson (@JillSorenson17) November 14, 2016
Saturday, the Capitals looked listless in their 5-1 loss to the fourth-worst team in hockey. It was the Caps second game of a back-to-back and played in a different time zone than the night before. The team got the day off on Sunday.
The idea of playing Alex Ovechkin, one of the game’s all-time greatest goal scorers, with Jay Beagle, a scrappy fourth line center, was first realized by former Caps head coach Adam Oates. In an attempt to get Ovechkin to simplify his game, Oates paired Ovechkin with Beagle and Joey Crabb to disastrous results. The line never scored once while playing together.
Since the beginning of the 2014-15 season, Beagle and Ovechkin have skated 192 minutes together at even strength. Beagle and Ovechkin have pushed play slightly with a 50.36 shot attempt percentage (score and venue adjusted). When the two are not playing together, Beags’ possession number drops to 49.92% while Ovi’s number rises to 54.11%. In short, Jay Beagle makes Alex Ovechkin a less effective player.
So far this season, Beagle has tallied three goals and three assists, including a two-goal game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. He is currently the team’s seventh leading scorer. Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson lead the team in goals with seven. Beagle (48.85%) and Ovechkin (48.66%) are in the bottom three amongst all Caps forwards in terms of possession.
First line Beagle doesn’t bug me in November half as much as it would in March or April, but it’s never a good idea regardless of the explanation.
Stats via Corsica and Natural Stat Trick
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