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Which Caps would you protect in expansion draft?

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Which Caps would you protect in expansion draft?

During their last day of meetings Wednesday in Boca Raton, Fla., NHL general managers were provided with the framework of how an NHL expansion draft would work if the league decides to expand from its current 30 teams to either 31 or 32 franchises.

As of now, Quebec and Las Vegas appear to be the two most likely destinations for new NHL teams, possibly as soon as the 2017-18 season. If one team is selected each current NHL team would lose no more than one player from its roster in an expansion draft. If two teams are added, each current team would lose no more than two players.

In an expansion draft each existing NHL team could protect 11 players on its roster, including one goaltender. First- and second-year pros would not have to be made available and unsigned draft choices would also be exempt.

"As we have said all along, we wouldn't expand before the (2017-18) season, which means if we are going to expand for '17-'18 we've got to do something by June at the latest for '17-'18,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters. “But there is no requirement to adhere to any timetable, let alone that one."

The NHL has not expanded since 2000, when the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets entered the league.

So, for the sake of argument, let’s assume two new franchises are awarded for the 2017-18 season and there is an NHL expansion draft that June.

RELATED: Capitals chasing some impressive team numbers

Here is a list of players that could be on the Capitals’ roster 15 months from now. Which 11 players from this eligible list would you protect if you were general manager? It’s not as easy as you’d think.

Forwards

Alex Ovechkin

Nicklas Backstrom

Jay Beagle

Justin Williams (UFA after next season)

T.J. Oshie (UFA after next season)

Jason Chimera (UFA after this season)

Mike Richards (UFA after this season)

Marcus Johansson (RFA after this season)

Tom Wilson (RFA after this season)

Evgeny Kuznetsov (RFA after next season)

Andre Burakovsky (RFA after next season)

Stan Galiev (RFA after next season)

Chandler Stephenson ((RFA after next season)

Nathan Walker (RFA after next season)

Liam O’Brien (RFA after next season)

Defensemen

Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik

John Carlson

Taylor Chorney

Dmitry Orlov (RFA after this season)

Karl Alzner (RFA after next season)

Nate Schmidt (RFA after next season)

Goaltenders

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer (RFA after next season)

MORE CAPITALS: Holtby sets franchise wins record, can he catch Brodeur?

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3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

The Capitals play their last home game of October on Friday as they host the Florida Panthers (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Here’s what you need to watch.

Dmitrij Jaskin is back in

Todd Reirden has made one adjustment to the lineup for Friday’s game, putting Dmitrij Jaskin back in on the fourth line in place of Nathan Walker. Jaskin has yet to record a point since joining the Capitals, but that has a lot to do with where he was coming from.

“This team is based on being creative and it's probably something that I missed in the last few years,” Jaskin said following Friday’s morning skate.

In St. Louis, Jaskin was coached by Mike Yeo and, before him, Ken Hitchcock. Both coaches preach a hard-nosed offensive style based more on effort and being defensively responsible than skill. Coming to a team like Washington then, a team that encourages skill and creativity on offense, is a pretty dramatic change.

Jaskin has played a very safe style since coming into the lineup. It’s good to be defensively responsible, but not if it completely chokes the life out of the offense. Jaskin is hardly generating any offense at all thus far since coming to Washington.

After a few more practices, can it finally spark some skill and creativity from Jaskin?

Can the Caps get the bottom six back on track?

The Caps have gotten only two goals in six games from their bottom six and both came in the team’s blowout opening win against Boston. The third and fourth lines generated some chances on Wednesday, but afterward, Reirden stressed that the team needed to see more production from its depth forwards.

“We've got to continue to get scoring depth wise if we want to have success in this league,” he said. “That's where everything's headed is you can't rely on your top guys to come through for you every night and we'll continue to focus on finding the right chemistry with that third and fourth line to be able to give us some added offense there as well.”

Florida could provide a good opportunity for those players to get some points on the board.

Starting goalie Roberto Luongo is out with an injury and James Reimer will get the start on Friday. In three games, Reimer has a GAA of 3.62 and save percentage of .885.

As a team, the Panthers currently rank 24th in goals against per game with 3.50.

Two teams in need of a win

Florida is still searching for its first win of the season with a 0-2-2 record. It is still early, but this is a Panthers team with playoff aspirations and you don’t want to dig yourself in too deep a hole to start or it becomes very difficult to dig out.

The Caps, meanwhile, will be playing in their final home game of October. They leave Saturday for Vancouver to kick-off a three-game Western Canada trip. They then will face the Canadiens in Montreal on Nov. 1 before finally returning home.

Washington’s next home game will not come until Nov. 3. That makes Friday’s game a big one for the Caps as they try to secure two points before hitting the road.

“It's definitely a big game,” Reirden said. “We want to build on some of the things we were able to accomplish last game. It's difficult anytime you go out west with time changes and different stuff. We know that [Florida is] going to be a desperate team that hasn't had the start that they want and they're talented so it's an important game for us to go on the road on a winning note.”

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The Ovechkin's posts family photo with newborn son Sergei

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The Ovechkin's posts family photo with newborn son Sergei

Capitals star Alex Ovechkin had arguably the best summer of anyone.

In June, the Capitals won their first ever Stanley Cup, and in August, Ovechkin and his wife Nastya Ovechkina welcomed their first kid.

Although Ovechkin's son Sergei is only a couple months old, the public has not seen much of him. Both Nastya and Alex posted pictures on Instagram of Sergei's foot when he was born, but neither had posted anything of him since.

In honor of Sergei's two month birthday, Nastya posted a picture of the three of them, with Alex holding Sergei in his hands. 

While it is hard to see much of Sergei, this is one of the first pictures of the couple with their newborn present. 

What a happy family! 

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