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Holtby thinks Price should start for Canada in World Cup of Hockey

Holtby thinks Price should start for Canada in World Cup of Hockey

Team Canada's roster for the World Cup of Hockey features an incredible trio of goalies with Braden Holtby, Carey Price and Corey Crawford.

Any coach would have trouble picking one of those three goalies to start, but Holtby has an idea who he would go with and it's not who you think.

"All of us want to play, but if Carey's healthy, there's no reason to not go with him," Holtby told Katie Brown of NHL.com. "He has all the experience internationally and the smart choice obviously would be that. I'm going to go there and play hard, [do] what I do, support the team in any way possible, whether it's playing or supporting another guy."

RELATED: CAPS ASSISTANT MISSES OUT ON HEAD COACHING JOB IN COLORADO

Holtby has a very strong case to start for Team Canada. Price was limited to only 12 games last season due to an MCL sprain and hasn't played in a game since Nov. 25.  Holtby, meanwhile, is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top netminder. No one has been better over the past year.

And yet, it sounds like he would be just fine sitting on the bench behind Price and so probably would many Caps fans.

Holtby has been an absolute work horse the past two seasons playing in 139 regular season games and 25 playoff games in the past two years. Fatigue has to be something head coach Barry Trotz has to be thinking about this season with the World Cup tournament set to take place jsut before the season starts.

Perhaps seeing Holtby sit on the bench wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for the Caps.

MORE HOCKEY: OSHIE'S DAUGHTER, DOG STEAL SHOW IN VIRAL VIDEO

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2016-17 Season preview: New York Islanders

2016-17 Season preview: New York Islanders

It still feels like the season just ended, but with the draft and free agency already behind us, it's time to look forward to the 2016-17 season. We will preview every team in the NHL throughout August and take a look at what the new season may hold.

Team: New York Islanders.

How they did last season: 45-27-10 (100 points); 4th in the Metropolitan Division; 5th in the Eastern Conference. Made the playoffs for the third time in four years but failed to advance past the second round after being eliminated by the Lightning in five games.

Notable acquisitions: LW Andrew Ladd; RW PA Parenteau; and LW Jason Chimera.

Notable departures: C Frans Nielsen; RW Kyle Okposo; LW Matt Martin; D Brian Strait; and D Marek Zidlicky.

When they will play the Caps: Oct. 15 in Brooklyn; Dec. 1 in Washington; Dec. 13 in Brooklyn; Dec. 27 in Washington; Jan. 31 in Washington.

RELATED: CAPS ASSISTANT MISSES OUT ON HEAD COACHING JOB IN COLORADO

Analysis: When the Islanders open the 2016-17 season, John Tavares' supporting cast will sport a decidedly different look.

Gone are top-six forwards Nielsen and Okposo and hard-hitting fourth liner Martin—all of whom defected via free agency. In their place, GM Garth Snow signed Ladd, a two-time Cup winner with 64 postseason games on his resume, Parenteau and Chimera, the 37-year-old winger who netted 20 goals last season in Washington.

Two of the newcomers—Ladd and Parenteau—figure to flank Tavares on the revamped first line. Ladd, 30, is good for 25 goals a season and Parenteau, 33, matched his career-high of 20 goals last season in Toronto. Parenteau played for the Islanders previously from 2010-2012.

Is the forward group improved? That’s tough to say. More likely than not, it’s just, well, different. Which could be a good thing for the Islanders, a team that’s posted back-to-back 100-point seasons but needs to take the next step with its window of opportunity wide open.

With the camp set to begin in about a month, the biggest question is in net, where Coach Jack Capuano will have a difficult decision to make. There are three goalies on the one way contracts: Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube. And having covered a situation like that in Washington, I can tell you this without hestitation: That’s one goalie too many. Sure competition is good, but there’s only one net to defend on game nights and two nets in practice.

When healthy, Halak has been mostly good for the Islanders over the past two seasons. Unfortunately, he was sidelined a few times last season by injuries, calling into question his reliability. Greiss, meantime, performed well in his absence, posting a .925 save percentage in 41 regular season games and a .923 mark in 11 playoff appearances. The Islanders are also intrigued with Berube’s potential. And, oh yeah, Halak is set to count $4.5 million against the cap next season, while Greiss and Berube will count $1.5 million and $675,000, respectively.   

Something’s got to give, obviously.    

Season prediction: In the spirit of full disclosure, I covered the Islanders through some pretty dark years for The New York Times back in the late 1990s, so I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for them given all the franchise and fan base has been through.

That said, I like this team for a lot of other reasons, too.

I think Tavares will flourish with Ladd and Parenteau on the first line. In addition, I suspect Ladd’s leadership and championship pedigree will be a good thing for the locker room.

I’m also bullish on the Nick Leddy/Travis Hamonic/Johnny Boychuk-anchored defense. I think it’s plenty good enough. And if youngster Ryan Pulock solidifies the group, as expected, I suspect it could be one of the league’s better blue lines.

And, finally, I’ve always thought of Capuano as one of the league’s savvier coaches, even if he flies under the radar a bit. But this year will be a big test for him. He’s got a sticky goaltending situation to sort out and, after two straight 100-point seasons, it’s time for Tavares and Co. to make a run. He knows it. And everyone else knows it, as well.

MORE HOCKEY: OSHIE'S DAUGHTER, DOG STEAL SHOW IN VIRAL VIDEO

2016-2017 NHL TEAM PREVIEWS

Pacific Division
— Anaheim Ducks
— Arizona Coyotes
— Calgary Flames
— Edmonton Oilers
— Los Angeles Kings
— San Jose Sharks
— Vancouver Canucks

Central Division
— Chicago Blackhawks
— Colorado Avalanche
— Dallas Stars
— Minnesota Wild
— Nashville Predators
— St. Louis Blues
— Winnipeg Jets

Atlantic Division
— Boston Bruins
— Buffalo Sabres
— Detroit Red Wings
— Florida Panthers
— Montreal Canadiens
— Ottawa Senators
— Tampa Bay Lightning
— Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division
— Carolina Hurricanes
— Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils
— New York Rangers (coming Aug. 27)
— Philadelphia Flyers (coming Aug. 28)
— Pittsburgh Penguins (coming Aug. 29)
— Washington Capitals (coming Aug. 30)

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2016-17 NHL Season Preview: New Jersey Devils

2016-17 NHL Season Preview: New Jersey Devils

It still feels like the season just ended, but with the draft and free agency already behind us, it's time to look forward to the 2016-17 season. We will preview every team in the NHL throughout August and take a look at what the new season may hold.

Team: New Jersey Devils

How they did last season: 38-36-8 (84 points), 7th in the Metropolitan, 12th in the Eastern Conference. Did not make the playoffs.

Notable acquisitions: C Vernon Fiddler, D Ben Lovejoy, LW Taylor Hall, RW Beau Bennett, D Brandon Gormley

Notable departures: D David Schlemko, D Adam Larsson

When they will play the Caps: Dec. 29 in Washington; Dec. 31 in New Jersey; Jan. 26 in New Jersey; March 2 in Washington

Analysis: The New Jersey Devils have finished in the bottom four in terms of goals per game in each of the past four seasons and finally bottomed out in 2015-16, finishing dead last with only 2.22 goals per game. So the Devils’ priority this offseason was no secret, they needed to get better offensively.

To address that, the Devils pulled off one of the biggest heists of the offseason, acquiring Taylor Hall, a player who has registered 50 or more points in four of his six NHL seasons, for defenseman Adam Larsson.

That’s a steal. With all due respect to Larsson, the fact that general manager Ray Shero was able to get Hall without giving up more than just one player is stunning.

There’s also hope that prospect Pavel Zacha, the sixth overall pick in the 2015 draft, will be able to make the jump to the NHL this year. Don’t expect the Devils to turn into the 2010 Caps, but there’s no reason to expect them to remain among the league’s worst offenses either.

As good as the trade for Hall was, the downside is that the defense in New Jersey will likely take a step back. Larsson was among the team’s top defensemen last season and was second on the Devils in ice time. Having a goalie like Corey Schneider, however, will certainly help. While a team never wants to rely on a goalie to carry a defense, it’s easier to mask a bad defense with a good goalie than it is to mask a bad offense with...well, a good goalie.

Season prediction: New Jersey had no scoring last season in John Hynes' first season as head coach, but that was a roster issue, not a coaching one. In fact, the Devils were much more competitive than I anticipated given the team’s roster and finished just 12 points out of the last playoff spot.

There’s no question the defense has taken a step back, but the offense has taken a major step forward. It’s up to Hynes now to show what he can do with it.

This roster is still not good enough to reach the playoffs, but the Devils look like they are headed in the right direction.

2016-2017 NHL TEAM PREVIEWS

Pacific Division
— Anaheim Ducks
— Arizona Coyotes
— Calgary Flames
— Edmonton Oilers
— Los Angeles Kings
— San Jose Sharks
— Vancouver Canucks

Central Division
— Chicago Blackhawks
— Colorado Avalanche
— Dallas Stars
— Minnesota Wild
— Nashville Predators
— St. Louis Blues
— Winnipeg Jets

Atlantic Division
— Boston Bruins
— Buffalo Sabres
— Detroit Red Wings
— Florida Panthers
— Montreal Canadiens
— Ottawa Senators
— Tampa Bay Lightning
— Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division
Carolina Hurricanes
Columbus Blue Jackets
— New York Islanders (coming Aug. 26)
— New York Rangers (coming Aug. 27)
— Philadelphia Flyers (coming Aug. 28)
— Pittsburgh Penguins (coming Aug. 29)
— Washington Capitals (coming Aug. 30)