The Arizona Coyotes acquired three bottom-six players and the pick they would use to draft Dylan Guenther just over a year ago for forward Conor Garland and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The three veterans were overpaid and getting up there, but Arizona did provide them a chance to show what they could do. And although he didn’t have much left to prove, Jay Beagle would show what he could do.
Games Played: 33
TOI/Games Played: 13:47
PP TOI: 3:50
PK TOI: 67:47
Beagle’s primary responsibility with the Arizona Coyotes was winning faceoffs. I’m sure the team also wanted him to be a good guy in the room and help guide some of the younger players, but on the ice, his job was to win faceoffs, and you can’t say he didn’t do that.
Unfortunately, Beagle was limited to only 33 games, but he did his job well in the short time. He won 57.11% of his faceoffs, finishing above his 56.7% career average.
Beagle didn’t contribute too much outside of faceoffs, which is understandable. If your main job is winning a faceoff in the defensive zone, you probably aren’t going to be the one scoring goals at the other end of the ice. Ultimately, Beagle would finish with a single goal and assist in his limited campaign with the Coyotes.
Head Coach André Tourigny liked to use Beagle on the penalty kill, and he finished 11th on the team despite being limited to only 33 games. As a comparison, Clayton Keller logged only ten minutes more short-handed, despite playing in 34 more games than Beagle. If Beagle had played the entire season, he likely would have been the Coyotes’ top penalty-killing forward.
Despite not playing a major role with the Coyotes, Beagle was central to a big story last season. Late in a game against the Anaheim Ducks, Jay Beagle took exception to Trevor Zegras taking an extra poke at the Coyotes’ netminder and cross-checked Zegras to the ice. Troy Terry stood up for his teammate, although Beagle handily outmatched him.
It is a common scenario in hockey, and usually, that is the end. But unfortunately, it became a national story, and everyone had a take.
Earlier in the game, Zegras had scored a lacrosse-style goal, and in his comments, color commentator Tyson Nash linked the resulting fight as anger boiling over from players being embarrassed by the antics of skilled players like Zegras. Beagle would speak to Bally Sports about the incident.
Jay Beagle speaks on Friday night's altercation. pic.twitter.com/LvqbfA95kE— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) April 3, 2022
Where you land on the issue will depend on your opinions regarding several other issues. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of scrums after the whistle in general, but I don’t see something egregious with this instance. Scums and fights after a whistle are common, and it would probably would have happened even if Zegras hadn’t scored a lacrosse goal two periods earlier.
Beagle is currently an unrestricted free agent, and the chances he returns at this point are minimal. The Coyotes needed to acquire him to make a deal happen, and while he played his role with the team well enough, he isn’t the type of player the Coyotes need for a lengthy rebuild.
But the 36-year-old Calgary native has had a stellar career, and he was the first player to win the Kelly Cup in the ECHL, the Calder Cup in the AHL, and the Stanely Cup in the NHL. He was never the splashiest player, but he played a key role on some big teams. A few players go undrafted and go on to have phenomenal NHL careers, and Beagle can say with pride that he is one of them.