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Which Caps invitees have best chance at a contract?

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Which Caps invitees have best chance at a contract?

Beginning today at 3 p.m. and continuing through Tuesday, Capitals prospects and free-agent invitees will be trying to impress the Capitals’ coaching and management staffs in three exhibition games against the Florida Panthers (today), Tampa Bay Lightning (Sunday night) and Nashville Predators (Tuesday morning) at the Lightning’s training center in Estero, Fla.

Some players, like right wing Jakub Vrana, are hoping to perform well enough to earn a shot on the Caps’ season-opening roster on Oct. 10. Others, like Miles Koules, are seeking their first pro contracts.

RELATED: Carrick: 'My goal is to make the Washington Capitals'

According to generalfanager.com, the Caps currently have 47 players signed to standard player contracts, three under the NHL maximum of 50. Ten forwards (including Michael Latta), seven defensemen (including  Taylor Chorney) and three goaltenders (including Philipp Grubauer) are under one-way, NHL contracts, which means they would need to pass through waivers to be sent to the AHL.

The remaining 27 contracts are two-way deals.

With that in mind, which of the Capitals’ 23 rookie camp invitees have the best chance of landing one of three available pro contracts? Here are a few:

Miles Koules, 21, right wing

The son of movie director and former Lightning part-owner Oren Koules, Miles recorded career highs in goals (27), assists (32) and points (59) in 69 games with the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League last season. A crafty 5-foot-11, 187-pounder, he’ll need to excel in Estero to see NHL preseason action and earn his first pro contract.

Connor Hobbs, 18, defenseman

Taken by the Caps in the fifth round (143rd overall) of the 2015 NHL draft, Hobbs likely will need to prove himself at the junior level before the Caps offer him a contract. A 6-foot, 187-pounder, Hobbs had two goals and 16 assists in 45 games in the WHL last season.

Tim McGauley, 20, center

An undrafted free agent, McGauley tore up the Western League last season with a career-high 42 goals and 105 points in 72 games in his fourth and final season with the Brandon Wheat Kings. The 6-foot, 175-pound center added eight goals and 11 assists in 19 playoff games.  

Cole Wilson, 25, defenseman

At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Wilson is big and strong but went undrafted and unsigned following his senior season at the University of British Columbia, where he recorded 13 goals and eight assists in 28 games as a senior.

Keoni Texeira, 18, defenseman

An intriguing prospect born in Fontana, Calif.,  Texeira is a 6-foot, 208-pound blue liner who put up eight goals, 18 assists, 62 penalty minutes and a plus- 32 rating in 71 games for the Portland Winter Hawks last season.  

 

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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Blackhawks game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Alex Chiasson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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NHL Awards tracker: How Malkin is helping Ovechkin's case for the Hart

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Awards tracker: How Malkin is helping Ovechkin's case for the Hart

A week by week look at where the race for the major individual NHL awards stands and which Caps could be in contention.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been red-hot as of late and so has Evgeni Malkin. In his last nine games, Malkin has tallied a whopping 11 goals and 17 points. His current run has some people talking about him contending for the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player.

But if you want to talk about Malkin for the Hart, you have to talk about Alex Ovechkin as well.

Malkin has 66 points this season, Ovechkin has 65. Even with his impressive goal run of late, Malkin still trails Ovechkin in the goal-scoring race 34-32. What's more, Ovechkin's Capitals still hold a three-point lead over Pittsburgh with two games in hand in the Metropolitan Division.

Granted all of this could change by next week. Perhaps Malkin will pass Ovechkin in goals or the Penguins will pass the Caps in the standings which will change the conversation. Until then, however, there's no way to push Malkin's Hart candidacy without thinking about Ovechkin. What he is doing at the age of 32 with a Capitals team in which no one really knew what to expect is more impressive than what the 31-year-old Malkin is doing with players like Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby with the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is third among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With two rookies on the blue line and an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.

SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE

Braden Holtby

In contention for: Vezina

Holtby is on pace to be a 40-win goalie for the fourth consecutive season. He would be the first goalie in NHL history to accomplish that feat.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

If Malkin is a Hart candidate, so is Ovechkin who has done more with less in Washington this season.

Barry Trotz

In contention for: Jack Adams

The Caps still hold a three-point lead in the Metropolitan Division despite having two rookies on the blue line, dealing with more injuries than they have seen in years and down offensive years for some of its top players. Trotz deserves a lot of credit for that.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!