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Photo Credit: Geoff Burke - USA TODAY Sports

It’s Official; Canucks Sign Jay Beagle to a Four-Year Contract

Sometimes, the best contracts are the ones that one doesn’t sign. That truism is especially prescient on July 1st when a new league year begins and with it comes the dawn of free agency.

The Canucks, it seems, couldn’t resist the temptation, though. They’ve signed unrestricted free agent centre Jay Beagle to a four-year, $12-million contract, valued at $3-million annually.

It’s hardly surprising that the Canucks and Beagle came to terms. Sportsnet 650’s Rick Dhaliwal reported the Canucks interest in signing Beagle on June 15th. In the week ahead of free agency, when teams and players are allowed to have preliminary contract discussions without talking term and cash value (though nobody seems to play by those rules), Dhaliwal followed up on those reports, suggesting the two sides were discussing the framework for a contract.

The original figures that Dhaliwal put forth suggested a framework was in place for a three-year contract for $7.5-million, with a cap hit of $2.5-million annually. That was on Friday. In the time since, the competition had driven the term, and apparently the cap hit, from that position. The Canucks, undeterred, didn’t balk.

For better or worse, when the Canucks have wanted a player in the Jim Benning era, they’ve stopped at nothing to get that player. Count Beagle’s contract among the many examples.

This contract seems like one of their more ill-advised bets in that vein, though. Beagle, 32, turns 33-years-old in October — he’ll be 37 at the expiration of this deal. For someone who’s already a fourth-line centre, and one of dubious quality at that, there isn’t much room for his play to fall off before he’s sub-replacement level. Knowing what we do about how players age, that’s the most likely outcome — especially given Beagle’s rough-and-tumble style.

It’s not really a question of whether Beagle will add value to the Canucks’ lineup. He’s a fine NHL player, who just centred a fourth-line on a Stanley Cup-winning team. Beagle can kill penalties, win faceoffs and has those intangibles that the Canucks so covet.

If the Canucks signed Beagle to the two-year contract valued at $1.5-million that Hockey-Graphs Editor Matt Cane’s highly-predictive model suggested he would (or should) get, that would be perfectly acceptable — even if it’s not the course of action I would suggest.

Instead, the Canucks have one of the most expensive fourth-line centres in the NHL in Beagle. A player who won’t even be able to carry-on in that role until the expiration of this contract. It’s a needless risk for a contract that, even in the best-case scenario, won’t provide a significant return on investment.

The list of NHL regulars last season who enjoyed a lower ratio of shot control at 5-on-5 than Beagle is a short one — there’s no one on it. Beagle is about a 20-point producer per 82 games, coming off of a 22-point season, and when he was on the ice for the Capitals last season, they scored a grim 1.75 goals per hour.

If not for the additional context of the brutally difficult minutes that then-Capitals head coach Barry Trotz played Beagle in, it would be hard to even view him as an NHL-quality player.

The hope is that Beagle’s play won’t deteriorate any further and that playing on a team with Brandon Sutter will mean that he won’t be thrown to the wolves by his coaching staff on a shift-by-shift basis. In that scenario, he might be of some use to the Canucks in years three and four of his contract. That’s the hope, anyway.

  • Missing Luuuu

    Beagle is ok. Bring in someone who is professional and can teach the young guys what takes to win a cup. Four years doesn’t bug me either, I think he will play for 2 or 3 before he gets put on waivers. Not too sure about the other 2 signings.

  • Locust

    This doesn’t bother me. Need some leadership and mentorship. This isn’t a ‘stats’ chart it is a ‘team’ and if we are going to be Stanley Cup material we need to be moving in a positive direction. The CA clowns and ‘tankers’ have no idea what it takes. Beagle can be moved in his third year for a good prospect or pick and his contract will be a bargain by then.

    Glad to see we wont do an Edmonton and turn a whole room full of guys into sadsack losers. No one that has played or understands hockey at an advanced level will have a huge problem with this.

  • kermit

    I don’t understand their thinking. Is this another way to “weaponize” the cap? Sign players to above market contracts so they can move them up and down from Utica with no fear of anyone picking them off waviers?

  • speering major

    I think I understand the logic here. Benning wants to surround the prospects with pro’s that can set the tone and and provide some on ice protection. That said, these 4 year deals are a nightmare. Who is going to take these contracts of the Canucks hands in a season or two? Both the price and term are going to be a problem for contending teams who also are burdened by cap concerns.

    Eriksson, Beagle, and Roussel tie up over 15 million over the next 4 seasons. That’s just way too long of a commitment to players of this caliber and age for a rebuilding team.

      • speering major

        My apologies. I originally was going to include Gagner but then I realized he’s on the books for 2 more seasons, not 3. I forgot change the salary amount. Thanks for picking that up

        The number was wrong but the point is still the same

    • DJ_44

      If they want to trade these contracts for futures, the Canucks can retain salary. If they get picks in return, does this not ‘weaponize’ the cap is the same fashion as taking a bad contract on, with the exception you do not have the take a contract, only retained salary.

  • I have no problem with this, welcome to Vancity Jay.

    I hope he adds that “in your face” play that Canucks have been missing. He doesn’t need to be a fighter, just hard to play against and stand up for guys who can’t play like that. Like a Derek Dorsett type player.

    I knew the above article was gonna go like that, just knew it.

  • ColdOne

    Sigh. You had one job …

    Actually, Canucks management had three obvious needs to address:

    1. Improve goaltending
    2. Improve scoring
    3. Improve defence

    So, of course they spend more than they even wasted on Loui Eriksson to bring grit and intangibles to the Canucks.

    But, you know what the deal with intangibles is? They doesn’t win hockey games!!!! Tangibles do. Scoring goals. Getting assists. The plethora of advanced statistics available to us which demonstrate that over the long term the puck will go into the other guy’s net more than into our net when a player is on the ice.

    Adding a bunch of fourth liners who can’t score, and have low career ceilings does not address any of the Canucks fundamental needs.

    Worse, it will keep younger talent with higher ceilings off the team for 3-4 years.

    The Canucks would have been literally better off if I had locked Jim Benning and Trevor Linden in my basement for a week and then taked their entire UFA budget and thrown it away on an epic bender of strippers and blow.

    Then, at least the strippers in this town would have been happy. As things currently stand, noone will be happy with these signings in two years time.

    • Bud Poile

      Canucks management had one stated goal-protect their talented young players.
      They’ve done just that.
      After another top-five draft where the Canucks get another elite prospect -or two- Gadjovich,Woo,Virtanen and all have been shown how to protect their mates.
      The soft as butter Canucks skilled players have their backs covered.Now go out and do your friggin’ jobs.

  • TheRealPB

    I wish FA day didn’t follow the draft so closely so that I didn’t have to follow the excitement of all the young prospects with feeling disappointed with overpays on free agents. Beagle is ok, but the other two seem serious overpays. If the plan is to properly season the young prospects in Utica and not put them in the midst of the tire fire I guess that might make sense but I think I’d rather see what either Goldobin or Boucher could do in a regular role alongside Horvat-Boeser-Baertschi, Gagner-Sutter-Eriksson and Leipsic-Virtanen on the top lines, and Motte, Granlund, Sutter, Gaunce to figure out the fourth. I don’t have a problem with displacing Motte and Gaunce I guess, but they seem like cheaper versions of the ones we just paid millions for (without the faceoffs, but that’s overrated).

    Last year’s FA splash didn’t end up all that well either, but Wiercoch, MDZ, Vanek, Burmistrov, and Gagner are either gone or on limited remaining time. I don’t hold Benning responsible for inheriting a poor prospect pool or boat anchor contracts, but the kind of disastrous evaluation of pro talent (extending to the reads on Gudbranson, Sutter, Sbisa, Dorsett, etc) is all on him.

  • I just read some of the comments and so, to all you bozos who think every player signed should get half the money and term: It doesn’t work like that. If I had a $ for every time I read “paid too much”…

    A good GM identifies a need. He fills that need by targeting individual players. When a suitable target is found, he goes about signing that player. This doesn’t happen in a vaccumm. Other teams have needs and this competition drives up prices. Good players get multiple offers.
    Give credit to Jim Benning for signing the best player available to fill an identified need, even if it means spending a little more.

    • Locust

      Cant really put all the blame on the commenters – if they read and believe the pablum that passes for hockey content on this site 90% of the time, they have Stockholm Syndrome.

  • Dissin_Terry

    Demote Benning to scouting. He’s unable to learn from his mistakes, and, quite frankly, already isn’t an especially intelligent human being. I’d say it’s getting embarrassing, but we are so far past that now, it’s actually just sad.

    • Bud Poile

      The same sentiments ring true for me of JD.
      Thankfully I listen to a variety of professional,unbiased commentaries on radio so I get a balanced perspective on management.

    • LTFan

      Now the rest of the story – that is where he is from. Probably his parents and other family members still live. They will get to see him play more. There were a lot of good comments about Beagle in Schram’s column from a variety of sources.

      • Holly Wood

        There are some Beagle boys that played for the Bentley Generals in the Alberta Senior League, that have won the Allan Cup. Like playing against a swarm of bees when they are on the ice. Cousins, brothers?

  • LTFan

    Few commentator like what the Canucks have just done. Before they burn Benning et al at the stake let’s wait until training camp and the season starts to see what we have. Given that Beagle has good face-off stats that could be invaluable both on the PP and PK. The important thing for me is “the proof is in the quality of the pudding”. It won’t come out of the oven until sometime in October. Keep calm everyone and enjoy the summer.

    • Dirty30

      If JB follows his stated plan of having his young skill players in the top six and the vets providing leadership and support in the bottom six, then this team will be very interesting to watch.

      It will mean sheltered minutes and OZ starts for the first two lines, and lots of weight carried by the vets for the inevitable DZ and PK starts.

      Are these players a good replacement for the Sedins? Under the circumstances, definitely yes. The Sedins were top six players that needed sheltered minutes in their last season, and weren’t able to effectively play a bottom six defensive role. For the price of one Sedin, you get two bottom six guys that can eat minutes reasonably effectively, take some burden off Sutter and let the young players compete for the top six roles and develop further.

      Not a perfect plan, but one that hopefully acknowledges the need to give the young guys time to develop and provide a supporting cast that facilitates that development.

      How well this plan works will be interesting in itself.

    • Holly Wood

      And in the room, on the plane, at the airport, at a team meal, during a rough stretch players like Beagle are a huge part of a winning team. It’s not all about zone entries and fancy stats etc. One day some the editors will begin to understand at least I hope they do.

  • Fred-65

    One thing you can say about Beagle, he gives his all and to my knowledge can not recall seeing him take a shift off …. plus he has the 4th best F/O record last season in the league at 58.5 %. O’Reilly was best at 60%. That impacts PK and d zone face off in general. He’s a big body. Frankly that is a tiring game for the opposition trying to push him around and he has good possession number too I believe

  • DogBreath

    So ….they’re either hoping Sutter can move to a more offensive 2 line centre or he’s going to be packaged with others for younger talent. I can seethe argument for a second line centre role, but the team is set for another rough year.

  • janmoh

    4 years is concerning but the Canucks can trade Roussel and Beagle in their 3rd year or 4th year and retain salary if needed. They are the type of players that playoff teams want. Who knows that could be us and they would be very valuable playoff performers for us!
    It does look like to me that Archibald , Gaunce , Gaudette , and Dahlen will start in Utica now. Let’s see what training camp brings. These players aren’t plugging up top 6 roles. Bottom line we will need our 1st and 2nd rounders to really shine down the road. If that happens then we’re looking good because the bottom 6 are set.

  • truthseeker

    OK. The signings.

    Not a big fan of the Beagle signing for the same reason as most here. 4 years is on the long side. I do like what Beagle apparently brings but at that amount it’s not worth it given the other players on the team. Giving that extra year makes this contract hard to trade. Thumbs down.

    I guess what I’m really hoping from this signing is, if those province rumors were true, that he will now be willing to deal Sutter at some point this season.

    Roussel. I don’t mind this one as much as the Beagle deal, though I’m still not that happy about it. Again the 4 years is a bit steep. He is a younger FA though so the 4 years should be palatable in terms of him not becoming completely useless. From all accounts he’s a fan favorite in Dallas who’s fans did not want to see him go. Works hard etc…and apparently he’s pretty fast as well. (Kind of interesting how a lot of the complainers always whine about getting more speed on the canucks but ignore it when it’s apparently one of this guy’s better attributes.)

    I do think the need for “protection” for the youngsters is a bit over rated. But not completely over rated. Still though, I would have rather the nucks not sign any forwards and just gone with what they have so I’ll still have to give this signing a thumbs down.

    Schaller. This one I don’t mind too much. Term is good. Amount is good. Player is young. His numbers have gone up each year. Boston fans seemed to like him. Looks like he’s got some good speed as well. The goal in this link is pretty fantastic.

    https://www.stanleycupofchowder.com/2018/7/1/17522548/tim-schaller-will-not-be-a-boston-bruin-next-year

    Could be a fluke but whatever. I’ll give this signing a marginal thumbs up and hope he can keep improving his game with us.

    I’m giving Benning a D overall. It’s obvious the canucks do need a bit of help at center and they do need a bit of grit, but it seems to me they could have just done Schaller and Roussel and passed on Beagle. Plugging some obvious holes keeps if from being an F but it’s pretty disappointing.

    • truthseeker

      oh and Baertschi…..

      Yeah…it’s alright I guess. Obviously not just going to let him go. Seems reasonably fair. I think I like it a little less than JD though…haha….I think the dollar amount is a little high for what he brings, but the term is OK. This is really the make it or break it contract for Sven. Is he a real top 6 or not. I hope he is.

    • jaybird43

      I more or less agree.
      Beagle signing: F.
      Roussel signing: C- or D.
      Schaller: C+.

      Benning: Hard C- or D.

      I’d trade the expensive two for de Hann. Then Benning would get a B.

      • Kanucked

        I agree with the individual grades for each transaction; however, I give a F for the combination of all three FA signings given their current roster.

        What’s lost in the arguments re toughness is the fact that Benning has consistently said that he didn’t want to put pressure on the young players to score. With these signings, he’s done exactly the opposite.

        Sutter said last year that he felt comfortable this last year because he understood and agree with his role as a matchup center. Now Benning says he can be a scoring center?

        Sorry, it’s a hard F for me.

        • truthseeker

          Personally I don’t really care what Benning says. I could be true, it could be him just placating the media, or simply saying what he thinks the player needs to hear through the press as he’s done many times before. As every GM in the league does.

          I hope he does put pressure on the youngsters coming in. I want either Gaudette or Pettersson to be given the second line center position. Gaudette is 21 years old, with a Hobey Baker award and huge points in the NCAA. The last 4 Hobey Baker winners stepped into the NHL immediately and contributed well. Gaudette outscored Vesey, and had more goals in his final year of college than Eichel.

          It’s not unreasonable at all to expect him to be able to play in the NHL now.

          And Pettersson, well, what else needs to be said. Everyone knows what he did. If the canucks want him on the wing then that’s fine too but he needs to be on the team this season unless his camp is an absolute disaster.

          In some ways I’m kind of glad they didn’t get scorers to take time away from giving these kids their shot.

          Doesn’t make the signings any better, but I do understand Benning’s position, and it’s not an unreasonable one. I just don’t agree with it.

          • DogBreath

            So you’re in favour of ‘giving’ those positions to players who’ve had next to no nhl experience, all this while playing what will be a losing environment. Have we learned nothing from Edmonton, buffalo, Arizona, Florida etc?

          • truthseeker

            Boeser had no NHL experience. All the greatest players in history had no NHL experience in their first year…lol. You automatically assume failure. Why? We’re not Edmonton, Buffalo Arizona or Florida. These aren’t the players they had. Not the same coaches either. The Pens won 22 games in Crosby’s rookie year. Did it ruin him?

            Of course if they are absolutely brutal in camp then yeah, they should be sent down. But that’s not very likely.

            They’ve got to start learning the league at some point. The teams not going to turn itself around without these guys. It’s why we drafted them. You “send them to the minors” people seem to imply there will be some “perfect” time when they all come up and just “be” good…lol. There will never be a perfect time to bring in a player. It’s always going to be an adjustment for them. Stop babying them and lets see what they can do.

          • Kanucked

            Your argument may make sense if the term of these contracts were more digestible.

            The issue is that you have these guys locked up for 4 years. Particularly, Beagle who is about 33 years old. You can’t easily get rid of that deal.

            So even if the young guys do well, there’s little room for anyone else to make the team because of Erickson, Beagle, and Rousel. And you can’t trade them

        • DogBreath

          The argument is they’re creating the environment for Petterson, Hughes Leipsic etc to develop more freely. All are very small, slight and easy targets with no one otherwise there to push back. It’ll be interesting to see if this frees up granlund and Sutter for more offensive deployment.and if they can be successful.

          • Kanucked

            I understand that, but cost of 4 years is prohibitive. Maybe if they had signed Rousel and Schaller, it would be palatable. I think Beagle’s contract is immovable.

  • Holly Wood

    Some much needed size and grit to play in the bottom six and be inserted higher in the lineup when needed. Sorely lacked that last season. The younger skilled guys can now play to their strengths and the vets can provide leadership and backbone. The fourth year may be a concern down the road but you wouldn’t get them signed without it.

    • Giant-Nation

      Great signings for the day, these players will allow our young guns to develop and focus on there game with the feeling of confidence the Vets will provide. When a team could possibly have Juolevi Hughes Gaudette Pettersson Dhalen Demko along with young guys like Boeser and Vertanen you have to give them leadership that has good habits and execution, this has nothing to do with ppg – getting to the dance and staying there are two different things, look how bad Edmonton has done wasting so much top tier talent, they need to leave Edmonton to win Heart Trophies. Benning Linden doing a great job.

  • Gino über alles

    One thing we all have to keep in mind is that these contracts aren’t for the short term health of the team, and for where we are going to be in 3-4 years the FA signings aren’t going to be on the radar. What Benning and company know full well is that really successful teams are built through the draft, not through UFAs, and these signings are meant to add competition for the younger players trying to make the team and also provide leadership in the locker room and examples on the ice. That will have the long term impact on our core players and will shape them into the players we want them to be.

    I understand the concern over term but really is it going to be THAT big a deal in 3 years? The young players needing new contracts won’t be impacted by these signings as we can more than cover the Boeser-Pettersson demands by 2020-2021. These are pretty solid signings that will help the long term development of the team as we never want to do what Edmonton did and just gift ice team to young players.

    Never go full Oilers…

      • Ser Jaime Lannister

        Beagle > Gaunce, Roussel > Gagner. Canucks had one of the worst PKs last year and they just improved it with these signings.

        Lots of these young guys are 2-3 years away and lots wont even make it! Gaunce,Granlund,Gagner,Goldobin,Leipsic should be nervous now that theres a logjam with forwards. Nothing wrong with internal competition.

        I deff wont lose any sleep losing those 5 players thats forsure.

        • Kanucked

          Gagner will make this team. He’s got 2 more years @ $3M+.

          So with the signings, the lineup looks like this for next two years (barring trade):

          Horvat, Boesser, Eriksson, Gagner, Sutter, Beagle, Roussel, Schaller, Baertschi.

          Bubble guys fighting for 3 spots:

          Granlund, Petterson, Gaudette, Leipsic, Virtanen, Gaunce, Dahlen, Goldobin

          If you look at waiver eligibility, likely Virtanen, Granlund and maybe Leipsic make the team. Pettersson likely makes this team. Where’s the opportunity to compete for the rest?

      • Gino über alles

        Depends where you focus the competition, if Dahlen and Lind came into camp and blew everyone away they’d be on the top two lines and they’re probably a couple years away from being at that level just yet. You won’t have your kids make the team to be 4th liners, the only one I’m worried about is Goldobin as he needs to be on the top two lines and can’t go through waivers again.

        Virtanen and Gaunce are suited for the bottom two lines but not Pettersson or Leipsic, they would have to beat out Gagner, Baertschi, or Granlund to make the team. I can’t see Gadjovich at that level just yet but if he does in a couple years then the Canucks would have no issues making room for him, this is really just intended to solidify the bottom two lines and provide more support for the younger generation as they transition into the line up in a few years.

  • Smyl and Snepsts

    Why is everyone so upset? The money is negligible at this point and for the next few years. We have lots of cap space and it is going to keep going up. None of these guys are taking the job of any of the prospects. None of them are being groomed to be tough in your face 4th lines. Most importantly, when someone thinks about running Bo, Brock or Elias they may think twice about it as they WILL have to answer

    • North Van Halen

      Sigh…it’s that in 3 – 4 years when Lind, Petersson, Dahlin, Hughes, Juolevi, Gadjovich,
      Gaudette and whatever other young guy that have needs a 2nd contract, we will have $12.5 mil (including Ericksson) invested in our 4th line. This will both hamper the ability to sign these players and add the missing pieces needed to augment this group.
      My guess is none of these 3 will be making contributions to a winning NHL team in 4years.

  • Locust

    It is a negotiation you twits.
    Do you think JB started at a four year offer or started at that salary? No.
    They wanted him, he negotiated a four year term. Take it or leave it – they took it.
    Geez….some of you must be simpletons.

    • North Van Halen

      When you have a losing hand in poker, do you keep throwing money at the pot and go all in? Or do u fold and live to bet another day.
      You set a price and term that are acceptable and once the price or term gets past that you walk away. Going in with the mentality that these are the only answers and paying whatever it takes to get what you want is not savvy, it’s dumb.

    • Locust

      Scoring isn’t his job. We’ll have plenty of that soon. It takes all kinds of players to win the cup.
      If the band campers at CA had their way we’d have a full team of good skating sharpshooters at 5’8″ and 155lbs with all the grit of a handful of Kleenex.
      That is what is so frustrating about CA compared to other Nation sites. The pocket protector crowd that we are stuck with doesn’t understand the game.