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Report: Philipp Grubauer, Nate Schmidt left exposed by Caps in expansion draft

Report: Philipp Grubauer, Nate Schmidt left exposed by Caps in expansion draft

The deadline for teams to submit their list protected players from the expansion draft to the NHL has now come and gone and the Washington Capitals did not have any last minute surprises.

Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post reported out Washington's protected list.

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The list is what was widely expected from the Caps. The addition of forward Tyler Graovac on Wednesday answered the question of which forwards with term left on their contract would be left exposed as required by the NHL. Now the focus turns to who Vegas may take.

Here are the players Washington has left exposed for the Golden Knights:

F Jay Beagle
F Justin Williams (UFA)
F Brett Connolly (RFA)
F Daniel Winnik (UFA)
F T.J. Oshie (UFA)
F Tyler Graovac
D Brooks Orpik
D Taylor Chorney
D Karl Alzner (UFA)
D Kevin Shattenkirk (UFA)
D Nate Schmidt (RFA)
G Philipp Grubauer (RFA)

One of these players will be headed to Vegas. The most likely candidates appear to be either Grubauer or Schmidt, but Caps' general manager Brian MacLellan could opt to make a deal with the Golden Knights in order to dissuade them from one or both of those players. Vegas general manager George McPhee could also opt to pursue T.J. Oshie or Kevin Shattenkirk, two of the most highly coveted free agents on the market.

Free agency does not begin until July 1, but starting at 10 a.m. Sunday, Vegas will have the unique opportunity of being able to talk to those free agents before any other team in the NHL can. Should either Oshie or Shattenkirk sign with Vegas within the expansion draft window, that player will count as the Golden Knight's selection from the Caps.

The NHL will make all of the protected lists public at 10 a.m. on Sunday. The expansion draft will be open until 10 a.m. on Wednesday and Vegas's 30 selections will be revealed during the NHL awards that night.

MORE CAPITALS: As expansion draft nears, expect plenty of 'horse-trading'

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Braden Holtby — the skater — is a sight to behold

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CSNMA

Braden Holtby — the skater — is a sight to behold

Braden Holtby is an elusive guy.

The 2015-16 Vezina Trophy winner might be large in stature, but keeps to himself. When you do see him, he's typically covered in layers of goalie pads or briefly chatting with the media following a game.

So imagine the surprise to see Holtby take the ice at Kettler IcePlex well before training camp begins with zero goalie pads on.

That's what took place on Monday morning. As several players hit the ice for some unofficial workout sessions, there was the 6-2 Saskatchewan native strolling onto the ice, with a regular stick, regular skates, regular gloves and Andre Burakovsky's helmet.

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Frankly, it was a bit odd to see Holtby skate up and down the ice.

Maybe it's because we're used to seeing him in the crouch position. or maybe it's because we actually see his entire figure, not just a pile of leather pads.

But even goalies need to work on non-goalie skills. The more familiar you are with position players, the better you will be to stop them from scoring.

But man, seeing Holtby skate like a forward sure does take some time to get used to. 

RELATED: RANKING THE CAPITALS' MOST IMPORTANT PLAYERS

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The 25 most important players for the Caps: No. 20 Taylor Chorney

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The 25 most important players for the Caps: No. 20 Taylor Chorney

Every player on an NHL team plays a role.

Some play bigger roles than others.

In the coming weeks, Tarik El-Bashir and JJ Regan will rank the 25 most important players in the Caps’ organization, from least to most important, weighing factors such as past production, future potential and intangibles. 

Today’s player: No. 20 Taylor Chorney.

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One of the more interesting storylines during training camp is going to be the battle along the blue line and where everyone, particularly a veteran like Chorney, fits into the plan as the Caps skew a bit younger.

The top pair is easy to figure out; it’ll be Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen.

After that, it gets a little more interesting.

John Carlson will be on the second pair, perhaps with Aaron Ness.

If that's how things shake out, it would make sense to have Brooks Orpik anchor the third pair, especially if the No. 6 spot goes to a rookie since they'd surely benefit from the steady hand of a soon-to-be 37-year-old.

But will that spot go to a youngster like Christian Djoos, Madison Bowey or someone else? 

Or will it go to Chorney, a 30-year-old who's appeared in 141 NHL games spread over eight seasons for four clubs?

The Caps anticipate that Djoos and Bowey are closer to being NHL-ready than their other defenseman prospects.

Djoos lit up the AHL last season to the tune of 58 points in 66 games and the team needs to replace some offense. Bowey, meanwhile, has the look of a promising two-way defenseman.

But here’s the drawback—and where Chorney, in my opinion, fits into the equation.

Neither Djoos nor Bowey have done it yet. And until they do, no one can be 100-percent sure they’re completely ready to handle the everyday duties that the NHL demands. 

Chorney, to that end, has a significant advantage in experience, at a position where it matters a lot. He appeared in 18 games last season and a career-high 55 games the year before, also with the Caps. 

The bottom line: I suspect Chorney, who is entering the final year of his contract, will open camp penciled in as the team’s No. 6/7.

I also expect that he'll play a decent amount this season, maybe more than last year but perhaps less than 2015-16. I could even see him in the opening night lineup. Eventually, though, the Caps will want to see Djoos, Bowey or another youngster squeeze their way past Chorney and into the lineup full-time.        

Check out the full list of the Caps most important players as it comes out here and check out previous player profiles below.

— No. 25 Aaron Ness
— No. 24 Chandler Stephenson
— No. 23 Riley Barber
— No. 22 Pheonix Copley
No. 21 Devante Smith-Pelly