The Brandon Wheat Kings' centre has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Capitals.
"I just went there to try and make an impression, work hard and just play my game. They liked it so it was good for me," said McGauley on Monday, "I didn't know until Kelly (McCrimmon) told me a couple of days ago here so that was news to me but I'm happy they like the way I play."
His signing won't affect his status with the Wheat Kings, as he'll remain with the club for the remainder of the season.
McGauley finished third in the WHL in scoring last season with 105 points and was the only player to finish in the top-6 in goals, assists, points and plus-minus while also being a runner-up for the WHL's Player of the Year award.
"It's nice to be recognized for the hard work. I put a lot of work in the off-season as well, training and everything so to get rewarded like this is real nice for sure," said McGauley, "This is just the first step. There's a lot more work for me to do so I'll try to climb the ladder and get to the next stage."
This season, McGauley had a goal in the club's opening game before suffering a shoulder injury late in the contest.
He's likely out of Brandon's lineup until next month.
"It's definitely real nice to have it out of the way," added McGauley, "I'm not playing right now but it's something that when I get back on the ice, it's nice to be gone and have some pressure off my shoulders and I can just worry about winning games here in Brandon."
McGauley is the third Wheat King to have inked an entry-level NHL contract in the last four months.
According to capfriendly.com, McGauley's deal is worth 1.99 million dollars over the three years (if in the NHL) including a $165,000 signing bonus.
Ivan Provorov signed a deal with Philadelphia in early July, just a couple of weeks after being the 7th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and New Jersey 2014 first round pick John Quenneville signed with the Devils in mid-July.