Last season, Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle entered training camp without a guaranteed roster spot, but finished the year as arguably one of the Caps' most relied-upon players.
That transformation took place under Dale Hunter's watch as Beagle was the prototype for the former's defense-first system -- a hard-nosed shutdown forward tasked with quelling the opposition's biggest offensive threats -- and his inspired play earned him a three-year contract extension worth $2.7 million with Washington Thursday.
Yet, with Hunter's departure at the end of the season, Beagle -- like many others -- will have to re-establish himself and earn the respect and trust of new head coach Adam Oates, an opportunity that he relishes.
"Having a new coach, you're gonna establish a relationship," Beagle said Friday. "I've already talked to [Oates]. Seems like a great guy, easy guy to talk to, very personable. I'm looking forward to having him behind the bench."
According to Beagle, who said Friday that he expects to be ready for training camp as he continues to recover from a broken left foot suffered during the Caps' second-round playoff series against the New York Rangers, Oates has already started to study video and has discussed with him certain ways that the latter can improve.
"He's already mentioned a few little things that I can work on and be working on in the summer. He's already picked out little things that you can improve and I think that's unbelievable to hear that from him."
"It seems that he cares about the development and cares about you as a player to try to get you [to be] the best you can be. I'm really looking forward to the year."
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