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Will NHL players accept owners' offer?

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Will NHL players accept owners' offer?

Let’s start with the truth.

NHL players will not come running back from the four corners of the hockey world to accept the 50-50 split in hockey-related revenue that was proposed by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesday in Toronto.

That said, there is a much better chance today of the NHL salvaging a season than at any point in the past four months. Bettman’s 50-50 split across the board is far better than the 47 percent proposed by the owners on Sept. 12.

But it’s still a far cry from the 57 percent taken in by the players under the expired CBA and would require players to have significant money placed in escrow accounts.

Bettman said his proposal would not require immediate salary rollbacks. While that may be true, it likely would require players to place at least 6.5 percent of their salaries in escrow accounts, much like they have in previous years.

That is something many players, including Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, have said they would not accept. Ovechkin has nine years and $88 million remaining on his contract with the Caps and is reportedly making $6 million playing in Russia this season.

Ovechkin has repeatedly stated he would consider staying in the KHL the entire season if it meant accepting a significant paycut to play in the NHL. Other players, including former Caps defenseman Sergei Gonchar, have echoed those sentiments.

So, while Tuesday’s proposal by the owners was a significant one, it only serves as a kickstart to more meaningful negotiations that are sure to heat up in the next eight to nine days.

It is important to emphasize that while Bettman called Tuesday’s proposal the NHL’s “best offer,” he did not call it the league’s “final offer.” It’s also worth noting that Don Fehr called the proposal “an excellent starting point” that he hopes will lead to more significant negotiations.

Here are a few more things to know about the league’s proposal: it is for at least six years; it carries a five-year maximum length on player contracts; it moves the age for unrestricted free agency from seven years of NHL service or 27 years of age to eight years of service or 28 years of age; and it keeps entry-level contracts at three years.

The players are likely to agree on all of those points. But their next move might be going with a less dramatic decline in revenue sharing – say beginning at 54 percent and ending at a 50-50 split in Year 5 or 6.

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Capitals 2017-18 Prospect Preview: Madison Bowey

Capitals 2017-18 Prospect Preview: Madison Bowey

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF MADISON BOWEY IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL regular season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir will analyze potential breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and the rest of the Metropolitan Division. 

Today they're discussing Madison Bowey, a 2013 second round pick that the Caps hope will be ready for everyday duty at some point this winter.

Next up on our prospect preview is Madison Bowey, a poised young defenseman looking to make up for lost time after a guesome injury put a stop to his 2016-17 development.

PROSPECT PREVIEWS: Jakub Vrana | Nathan Walker | Chandler Stephenson | Christian Djoos

2017-18 CAPITALS PROSPECT PREVIEW: MADISON BOWEY

Position: Defenseman
Age: 22
Height: 6-2
Weight: 206
Contract: Entry-level conract, $703,333 cap hit, restricted free agent in 2018

AHL Seasons: 2 (104 games)
2016-17 AHL Stats: 34 games, 3 goals, 11 assists, +6, 28 PIMs

PREVIEWING 2017-18 BREAKOUT CANDIDATES: Tom Wilson | Brett Connolly | Andre Burakovsky

Tarik El-Bashir's Prospect Preview:

If Christian Djoos sits atop the Caps’ list of prospects on D, Madison Bowey isn’t too far behind.

Bowey, a 2013 second rounder, has the size, skill and demeanor of an everyday NHL blue liner. The question as training camp approaches, though, is whether he’s had enough pro seasoning.

“He looks like an NHLer,” Hershey Bears Head Coach Troy Mann told Jill and Tarik on CSN’s Capitals Faceoff Podcast recently. “He’s got that demeanor out there. He has that size and the physical tools to play at the NHL level. Certainly his consistency is something we’ve worked on the last two seasons.”

Bowey, 22, appeared in only 34 regular games for Hershey last season because of a lacerated ankle tendon that he suffered in late December. The injury, which required surgery, sidelined the Winnipeg native until mid-March. Then, just as he was getting back into the groove, he took a puck off the face in early April and missed a few more games.

At the time of the ankle injury Bowey, by many accounts, was playing his best hockey as a professional. By the time the playoffs rolled around, though, he was still struggling to get caught up.  

“To say that there was some inconsistency—we’re not going to lie and say there wasn’t—but it understandable when he missed 3 ½ months,” Mann said.

The injuries—plus a veteran-laden lineup in Washington that stayed healthy for almost all of last year—prevented Bowey from getting into an NHL game last season. When he gets to training camp in September, though, the door will be wide open.

As things stand now, the Capitals have five defensemen under contract (Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, John Carlson and Taylor Chorney) and a couple of openings, if you include the spare.

Among the players expected to be in the mix are Aaron Ness, Djoos, Bowey and Tyler Lewington...with Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs and Jonas Siegenthaler just behind that group.

Mann really likes Djoos’ chances of seizing a spot. But he also says that he wouldn’t be surprised to see Bowey force his way to the forefront, as well. 

“There’s a spot there for him,” Mann said. “He’s a right-shot D with size, and can move the puck. So I wouldn’t be shy about saying that if he has a great training camp, you could see him cracking the lineup.”  

RELATED: Ranking the 10 best Capitals players of all time

Jill Sorenson's Prospect Analysis:

What He Has: “He’s a smooth skater, his first pass is exceptional, and I think fans will see that right away when they look at his highlights. He’s a puck mover [and] he has the puck a lot.”

What He Needs to Do: “That’s going to be the difference—a good training camp and better than a solid preseason. That would put him over the hump, to show that he has the consistency to play in the NHL.”

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Capitals 2017-18 Prospect Preview: Christian Djoos

Capitals 2017-18 Prospect Preview: Christian Djoos

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF CHRISTIAN DJOOS IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

It's time to take a look at which top prospects have the tools to become full-time NHL players and what they have to do to get the call-up from Hershey.

Next up is Christian Djoos, a player who Capitals fans have been waiting to see in Washington for a long time.

PROSPECT PREVIEWS: Jakub Vrana | Nathan Walker | Chandler Stephenson

2017-18 CAPITALS PROSPECT PREVIEW: CHRISTIAN DJOOS

Position: Defenseman
Age: 22
Height: 6-0
Weight: 164 pounds
Contract: Two-Way in 2017-18, One-Way in 2018-19. Two-year, $1.3 Million (2017)

AHL Seasons: 3 (129 games)
2016-17 AHL Stats: 66 games, 13 goals, 45 assists, +9 plus/minus

PREVIEWING 2017-18 BREAKOUT CANDIDATES: Tom Wilson | Brett Connolly | Andre Burakovsky

Tarik El-Bashir's Prospect Preview:

Christian Djoos had a fantastic season last year, racking up 13 goals and 45 assists in just 66 games with the Hershey Bears.

In fact, his assist total was tied for the most among all AHL defensemen and his point total was third—two off the lead. (The guys ahead of him, by the way, are longtime AHL vets; Djoos is 22.)

After producing a season like that, the Caps are expected to give the 2012 seventh rounder every opportunity to earn a spot in Washington this fall. And given the team’s need to replace Nate Schmidt, it’s possible Djoos’ role could become a significant one—if, of course, he proves he can handle the duties of an NHL blue-liner at his size.

The Caps list Djoos at 6-foot, 164-pounds.

Winger T.J. Oshie is currently the lightest player on the roster at 189 pounds, while Taylor Chorney is the lightest defenseman at 191 pounds.

Bears Coach Troy Mann says he’s confident that Djoos’ can compensate for that lack of size with his high hockey I.Q. and savvy ability to avoid big and unnecessary collisions.  

“He doesn’t get a hit a lot,” Mann told CSN’s Capitals Faceoff Podcast this week.

The Caps have five defensemen under contract (Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, John Carlson, Brooks Orpik and Chorney) for next season. That’ll leave a couple of spots open, including one for a spare, when camp opens in September—and Djoos figures to head up the list of players jockeying for a job.

“I think that Djoos is a perfect candidate when you start looking at the [openings on] defense,” Mann said. “No. 1, he’s a great puck mover. You’ve really got to come to a hockey game and watch him from up top to appreciate his skill set, and his ability to break pucks out. I think the NHL in the last couple of years has certainly gone in a different direction. I don’t think you can have too many puck movers on your team, and certainly that’s something he can do.”

Djoos, who has yet to play in an NHL game, is the son of former offensive defenseman Par Djoos, who played 82 games for the Red Wings and Rangers in the early 1990’s.   

RELATED: Ranking the 10 best Capitals players of all time

Jill Sorenson's Prospect Analysis:

What He Has: Skill, limitless talent. "If you take a look at the highlights, what he can do is jaw-dropping. To be able to see that on the ice here in Washington will be something to behold. He's very smooth and he has great vision. Part of that is his elusiveness. He can see when someone is coming, and next thing you know he's put the puck in the back of the net."

What He Needs to Do: Size, Endurance. "This first month or two, if he makes the NHL roster, will be very, very important."