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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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Capitals vs. Panthers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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Capitals vs. Panthers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Washington Capitals (3-2-1, 7pts) are coming off of an overtime thriller at home over the Rangers thanks to Matt Niskanen's crafty timing.

Through the first six games of the season, Washington is undefeated on Wednesdays, yet has failed to win consecutive games. The Caps hope to change that trend Friday night at home vs. the Florida Panthers (0-2-2, 2pts).

The Panthers have yet to win a game this season, with each of the four games being decided by just one goal. The Panthers have no problem scoring, netting at least five goals in two of the first four games, but have failed to seal the deal. This is where the defending Stanley Cup champions will need to capitalize.

Only the Maple Leafs (33) and Hurricanes (33) have scored times more than the Capitals (24). Washington has a clear advantage in firepower. The biggest key to victory is keeping the space in front of Braden Holtby clean as a whistle. If the Caps control their goalmouth, they should have no issues dispatching the Panthers.

Here is everything you need to know about the Friday night game, which takes place at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington. 

CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: Friday, October 19, 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals-Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

Live Stream: Watch Capitals vs. Panthers on the NBC Sports Washington live stream page and the NBC Sports MyTeams App.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS-PANTHERS TV SCHEDULE:

6:00 PM: Caps FaceOff Live
6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:00 PM: NHL: Florida Panthers at Capitals 
9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live

CAPITALS vs. PANTHERS INJURY REPORT:

Capitals: Travis Boyd (OUT, IR), Tom Wilson (OUT, Suspension)

Panthers: Michael Haley (OUT, Leave of Absence), Roberto Luongo (OUT, MCL injury), Mike Matheson (OUT, Suspension) 

CAPITALS vs. PANTHERS PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Evgenii Dadonov, W, Panthers: Dadonov is leading the Panthers this season with two goals and two assists on the season.

John Carlson, D, Capitals: Carlson had a heck of a game vs. the Rangers Wednesday night with a goal and two assists. The Capitals practiced faceoffs in practice leading up to Wednesday night's game and all of the practice paid off with Carlson's goal coming right off the faceoff from Backstrom. 

CAPITALS vs. PANTHERS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time Meetings: 123

All-Time Series Record: 64-50-9

Playoff Record: N/A

Last Meeting: Panthers beat Capitals 3-2 (2/22/2018)

Last 10 Meetings: Tied 5-5 

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What’s next for Capitals' Tom Wilson?

What’s next for Capitals' Tom Wilson?

On Thursday, Tom Wilson appealed his 20-game suspension to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. So what happens now?

Wilson was suspended 20-games for a hit he delivered to St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in the preseason. The NHLPA filed an appeal on Wilson’s behalf which led to his hearing on Thursday.

There is no specific timeline on when Bettman will issue a decision so for now, Wilson will have to wait.

When a decision is reached, he will have two options of how to proceed. First, he can accept the commissioner’s decision and serve whatever suspension remains. As of Thursday, he has currently served six games out of the original 20-game suspension.

Wilson also has the option of a second appeal. For suspensions of six games or more, a player can file a subsequent appeal to a neutral arbitrator. The arbitrator is given authority to issue a ruling based on whether the league’s finding of a violation of the rules and the penalty imposed were both supported by substantial evidence, meaning both the hit itself and the length of suspension will be reviewed.

This can be a lengthy process.

The most recent example of a player appealing to a neutral arbitrator is Nashville’s Austin Watson. He was suspended 27 games by the NHL on Sept. 12 for domestic assault. On Oct. 12 an arbitrator reduced the suspension to 18 games.

Given the serious nature of domestic assault, it should be noted that Wilson and Watson’s respective transgressions are in no way comparable. This example is used merely to illustrate how long the process can take.

Another example is that of Dennis Wideman who was suspended 20 games in 2016 for hitting and injuring a referee. His suspension was ultimately reduced to 10 games by an arbitrator, but by that time he had already served 19 games.

Wilson will remain suspended throughout the appeals process.

Obviously he would like to return to the ice as quickly as possible, but even if his appeal drags out and Wilson is forced to sit for most or all of those 20 games, he still can recoup some of the money he will forfeit from this suspension (over $1.2 million) which will make the arbitrator’s decision still relevant for him personally.

Should Wilson serve the full 20-game suspension, he will be eligible to return to play on Nov. 21 when the Caps host the Chicago Blackhawks.

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