Tag:Jonas Hiller
Posted on: January 7, 2012 3:07 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 3:10 pm
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Remaining cap hits for Ducks players in trade

DucksBy: Adam Gretz

The Anaheim Ducks are struggling through a brutal season that's seen the team win just 11 of its first 39 games and, as of Saturday afternoon, get outscored by a larger margin than any other team in the league. Nothing is going right, and last week general manager Bob Murray made it known that just about every player on his roster not named Teemu Selanne or Saku Koivu is in play, which is definitely an intriguing start to the trading season.

Even though the team is lousy right now, and Selanne and Koivu are off the market, that still leaves quite a list of players that would be attractive to just about every other team in the league, including Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry among others. Ryan's name was in trade rumors earlier this season, right around the team changed coaches, bringing in former Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau to replace Randy Carlyle, and nothing came of the rumors at that time. Who knows what's going to happen now that there's an "open for business" sign hanging on the front door.

For a team to complete a trade for one of Anaheim's many marketable players it's not only going to need an offer of players and draft picks that fits what the Ducks want and need, that team also needs enough salary cap space for the remainder of the season to make such a move, and a lot of these guys aren't cheap. When an in-season trade is made the team is responsible for a prorated portion of the players salary cap hit for that season, and it's determined by the number of days remaining in the season when the trade is completed.

To help figure out how much of a players cap hit a team is responsible for, the folks at CapGeek have a calculator that figures out the remaining value on each contract.

Below is a quick table for how much salary cap space a team would need to acquire one of Anaheim's top players this season on the following dates: January 7 (the present date), January 21, February 1, February 15 and the NHL's trade deadline, which falls on February 27 this season.

Does your team have the combination of players that can fill Anaheim's needs/wants as well as the available cap space?

Remaining Salary Cap Value: Anaheim Ducks, 2011-12 Season
Player 2011-12 Cap Value Jan. 7 Jan. 21 Feb. 1 Feb. 15 Feb. 27
Ryan Getzlaf $5.32 Million $2.61 Million $2.21 Million $1.89 Million $1.49 Million $1.15 Million
Corey Perry $5.32 Million $2.61 Million $2.21 Million $1.89 Million $1.49 Million $1.15 Million
Bobby Ryan $5.10 Million $2.50 Million $2.12 Million $1.81 Million $1.43 Million $1.10 Million
Lubomir Visnovsky $5.60 Million $2.75 Million $2.33 Million $1.99 Million $1.57 Million $1.21 Million
Jonas Hiller $4.50 Million $2.21 Million $1.87 Million $1.60 Million $1.26 Million $972,000
Francois Beauchemin $3.80 Million $1.86 Million $1.58 Million $1.35 Million $1.06 Million $821,000
Toni Lydman $3.00 Million $1.45 Million $1.24 Million $1.07 Million $843,243 $648,000

Getzlaf, Perry, Visnovsky, Beauchemin and Lydman are all signed through the end of next season. Hiller is signed through the 2013-14 season and Ryan is locked up through the 2014-15 season.

Photo: Getty Images


For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 5, 2012 10:50 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 3:53 pm
 

Ducks GM says all but Selanne, Koivu available

By Brian Stubits

Pick a Duck, any Duck. You can have him if the price is right.

That was pretty much the message that Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray sent to the NHL on Wednesday. The only difference? There are two untouchables: Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, two of the Ducks' three players over the age of 36. They each have no-trade clauses. But if Selanne were asked to be traded, then even he'd be available.

The rest; Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, Cam Fowler and the others? Hey, make an offer.

"And the rest of the players in that locker room, I thought they'd figure out when we changed coaches that time was running, the clock was running quickly here. And I don't care who you talked about," Murray said after the Ducks' 3-1 loss to the Sharks on Wednesday.

"But we will not go to draft picks. It's not my intention."

So it has come to this. I don't think many saw this happening in Anaheim this season. Was it a team with flaws coming into the year? Of course. There's not a lot of depth at the forward position and the defense could be better as a unit.

But who saw Jonas Hiller struggling this much after dealing with vertigo last season? Who saw a team with Perry, Ryan, Getzlaf and Selanne struggling so much to score goals? Who saw the Ducks having only 10 wins though 38 games?

Not many, if any. A coaching change didn't work. Letting the players try and work through it hasn't gone so well. What's left then but to head to the trade market with some amazing assets?

So let the rebuilding begin, right? Well we're going to play a little semantics game and say no. Let the retooling begin.

"We're going to get ready for next year," Murray said.

"I think this team can be turned around to make the playoffs next year. I think it's going to be hard to do it this year but I do want them to make a run. But it's got to happen quick. Everybody knows that. ... Let's start playing better hockey."

Honestly, at this point the last thing I'd hope for if I'm Murray is false hope. This hole is pretty much insurmountable. My colleague Adam Gretz detailed that in a recent edition of Pucks and Numbers.

Murray is in a better place than most GMs trying to do the same. He has a lot of desirable players at relatively cheap prices to move. It's pretty easy to get talented players to help you compete now when dealing from such a position of strength.

The hottest name for most of the season, of course, has been Bobby Ryan. Just before Randy Carlyle was fired, there was a lot of speculation that Ryan was going to be the one hitting the road, not Carlyle. Instead, Carlyle was replaced by Bruce Boudreau and Ryan was seemingly pulled off the block. That didn't last long.

It's a really tough spot for Murray. On one hand, the need for change is obvious. This roster just isn't getting it done. On the other hand his trio of Ryan, Getzlaf and Perry is incredibly talented, young and reasonably priced. That's a great mix, who would actually want to get rid of that? Hence, rock and a hard place. How many of the available players do you trade? All of them? Just one?

"I still believe we have some core players. Now, whether we have to change a few core players, so be it," Murray said. "They're deciding who's staying and who's not staying at this point."

I'd anticipate Murray being pelted with offer after offer for any one of these guys. Of course the price will be high. Murray has made it clear that he wants proven NHL talent in return. What team wouldn't want to get its hands on any of Anaheim's top players?

And I'll just throw this out there: The Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs have done business with one another plenty of times in the past.

Now have fun playing with Cap Geek's trade calculator. See if your favorite team can swing a deal.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 27, 2011 9:45 am
Edited on: December 27, 2011 12:17 pm
 

Fan tosses dead duck on ice in Ducks-Sharks game

By Brian Stubits

The lengths some people go to to be a jerk -- and presumably funny in their minds -- are astounding. Take last night's game in San Jose between the Sharks and visiting Ducks as an example.

In the third period of the Ducks' 3-2 win in the Shark Tank, play was briefly halted. Ducks beat writer for the O.C. Register Eric Stephens tweeted out what the delay was all about. "There's a stoppage in play as someone threw an apparent dead duck on the HP ice. Now that's fowl. Fans like it."

He was right. Somebody readlly did throw a dead duck onto the ice. No really, a true dead duck -- or as I like to call it after a 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story, Chinese turkey.

Of course, video was captured of the tossing by none other than the offender's friends. Peer pressure is rough, kids.

As you can see in the video, the man runs all the way down the aisle to the boards before flipping the duck onto the ice in front of Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, who got the referees' attention then quickly did an about-face and returned to his net. While the duck was removed from the ice, the man was removed from the stadium to the applause of the fans. Whether they were applauding the duck tossing or the fan tossing I'm not sure, but I'd hope it's the latter.

Of course, the part that is unstated as of yet is that this guy literally had a dead duck with him for more than 2/3 of the game, waiting to pull this stunt. Not to mention all the time he had the dead duck before the game and in transportation. Seems to me if you were going to pull a stunt like this that you'd at least get it done with a minute or two into the game. I won't give this guy a lot of credit, but his dedication deserves some recognition.

The Sharks fans are the last fan base that should be teasing the Ducks right now. Anaheim has only 10 wins on the season, three of them have come against the Sharks. The Ducks only have three road wins on the year, two of them in San Jose (including Monday). Yikes.

H/t to Pro Hockey Talk for the video find

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:52 pm
 

Hiller says bye to Movember, gets Wild Wing mask

By Brian Stubits

Is there anybody in hockey happier to be done with the terrific month that is Movember than Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller?

Despite having an awesome mask that was rivaled only by the one worn by Tim Thomas, Hiller was dreadful in November. Really, he was no different than his teammates in Anaheim. But Hiller's struggles were particularly strong, so a new month brings about a new chance with a new coach.

And a new mask.

His mustache mask is gone through a charity auction, so a new mask has to come. In its place is not his old mat black cage but instead the new Wild Wing design. Next to having a Darkwing Duck motif, this is pretty much one of the better designs he could have produced.

Here is a description of the mask from The Goalie Guild. I highly suggest reading the entire story, it's a fun description that does the mask complete justice.

With the power to create a new superstition on [designer Alec] Voggel’s fingertips, he knew the moment was just right. It was time to reverse and transform Hiller’s famine into fortune by unleashing the latest mask in a line of legendary Anaheim Ducks designs: Wild Wing.

Instead of paying homage to his teammates, Hiller is now honoring the official Ducks mascot. As you can see, he’s striking quite the intimidating pose on either side of the mask, breaking out from underneath the shards and remnants of Hiller’s old “Batman” black-matted mask.

With the moonlight now splashing over the mask, it reveals another job performed to perfection. It is complete. It has been revealed. Off to sleep, just one last task to complete before the moonlight wanes and the fresh sunlight of a new day spills out from behind the distant mountains.

It's even 3-D from afar.

What's your opinion?

Photo: Airxess.ch, courtesy of The Goalie Guild

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:02 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 7:53 pm
 

Slumping Ducks finding 'a way to lose right now'

By Brian Stubits

WASHINGTON -- This was going to be a story about the ageless wonder that is Teemu Selanne when the game was 4-2. If you had to name the best player on the ice in D.C. on Tuesday night, it would be the 41-year-old Finn. He had two goals. He assisted on Anaheim's other two. Simply put, he is still sensational.

After his four-point game, he now has 14 points in 12 games. Again, he is 41. I was getting my "Teemu Selanne is so awesome ..." jokes warmed up. Seriously, we haven't seen this type of production from somebody over 40 since Gordie Howe.

But then his team lost its lead and, well, it sort of changed the feeling in the room. (Good thing, my jokes sucked anyway.)

It was a game the Ducks had in their grasp. It was right there for the taking, all they had to do was hold off Washington's third line from scoring in the final minute. Instead they ended up losing 5-4 in OT, their sixth loss in seven outings.

"We began to self-destruct," coach Randy Carlyle said after the game.

That's just how things are going for the Ducks right now. They finally get some offensive production but the defense doesn't hold up its end of the bargain.

"We just seem to find a way to lose right now," goaltender Jonas Hiller said after the game. "We definitely have to forget about it and concentrate on the good things and I know everybody can play better. I have to start first with myself."

After Tuesday night, that was certainly a fair starting point. This was the second time in his last five starts that Hiller gave up five goals. The time, against Phoenix on Oct. 23, he was pulled.

"He's paid to stop the puck," an angry Carlyle said. "Simple as that."

The play in particular that was most egregious -- or most telling of Anaheim's recent "luck" -- came in the second period with the Ducks up 3-1. In what looked like a breakaway for the offense turned into a push from Caps goalie Tomas Vokoun the length of the ice, stopping just behind the goal line next to his crease. A few seconds later, Dennis Wideman was firing a laser shot into the net.

"What I think what happened was he was indecisive to go," Carlyle said. "I thought he should have played the puck above the goal line, get out of the net and just stop it."

"I thought when our guys were coming back ... I thought one of our guys was coming back because it was an icing," Hiller explained. "I thought 'well, we'll take that icing call' and then I was surprised nobody was there. But that's what I'm saying. Being in the wrong position at the wrong time."

So that was the problem on Tuesday night, goaltending. But it hid one other problem, the lack of offense. Let me explain.

Here are some numbers from the game that really drew my attention: 6-5-4. No, those weren't the daily pick-em lotto numbers, those were the number of shots per period by the Ducks. Add a bagel for the two-plus minutes of overtime and you have 15 shots in 62 minutes.

Entering Tuesday's game, the Ducks were tied with the Islanders for the lowest goals per game at 2.00. Through 12 games now, the Ducks are the third-lowest in the league with 24.8 shots per game. Only three times have they outshot their opponent. On Tuesday, Washington outshot them 40-15. None of those are recipes to winning.

Look at the production from this team, Tuesday included. As a whole, the Ducks have 25 goals on the season. Exactly one of those have come from a forward not on the top two lines on Tuesday; that was Maxime Macenauer's tally. Every other goal has come from a top-six forward of defenseman.

Obviously the top two lines are supposed to do the bulk of the scoring, but there needs to be balance in there.

Andrew Cogliano was just moved off the center position to the wing and bumped up to join Selanne and Saku Koivu on the second line. It looked like a perfect fit, it was clearly Anaheim's best group of forwards on Tuesday. They also have a pretty darn good top line in Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf.

"We were playing our game for the first half of the game and we were up 3-0," Perry said when I asked if they were creating enough offense. "We were scoring on our chances. It says a lot right there. When we're skating and moving the puck -- chipping it in, chipping it out, no turnovers -- it's effective.

"We got to look at what we're doing right and take the positives out of the game. A little down right now, but if we bounce back and play the way we did in the first half of the game, we'll be OK."

"All you can do is work harder and battle a little more," Hiller added. "At some point those bounces will go your way but it seems like we aren't trying. Everything seems to bounce against us and that's definitely tough but you can't blame whoever, whatever for that. At the end it's us who are playing out there and it's up to us to work harder to get those bounces.

Maybe they can just double Selanne's shifts?

"He's done his part and he continues to," Carlyle said of the ageless wonder. "Other people have got to step up. Simple situation is we can't accept that from this group."

OK, here is one of those bad Selanne jokes: Teemu Selanne is so awesome, that he made a metal wall cry. (Or maybe that was just from the water bottle he threw at the wall after the game. But I'll choose to believe he made that wall cry. I told you they were bad. Sigh.)

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 1, 2011 12:25 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 12:37 pm
 

Movember begins with clean-shaven George Parros

By Brian Stubits

With the fun of Halloween done, it's on to Movember in the NHL. No team will be more involved with the movement than the Anaheim Ducks and their fearsome mustache-wearing enforcer George Parros.

He might be more than a mustache as a hockey player, but it's pretty darn defining. Heck, even Parros' popular Twitter account is @stache16.

Really, it will go down in the sports annals of great upper lip hair history. Personally, I'm not convinced Parros' is even the best in the NHL right now thanks to Senators coach Paul MacLean, but that's no slight. Parros' 'stache is in the running for a spot on the Mt. Rushmore of hockey facial hair.

“It’s burly,” Parros told Puck Scene of his mustache. “It’s manly. It demands respect.”

That it does. It commands so much respect, that Parros was able to convince every player in the Ducks locker room to show their support for the Movember movement, an attempt to raise funds and awareness for men's health, particularly prostate cancer through the power of mustache. To do so, Parros actually had to chop of the big bristling 'stache to begin anew for the start of the month.

"Well the stache has been cut!" Parros tweeted. "They broke a few razors but made it through. the race is on...may the best mo win!!!"

Looks weird, huh?

You can hardly recognize him without his furry friend. And soon enough, you might not be able to recognize the other members of the Ducks in their mustaches either. Even goaltender Jonas Hiller, who originally elected to have a special mask made for the month instead of growing out his own mustache, is reconsidering.

“I haven’t decided,” Hiller said. “I originally planned not to and instead to wear the mask. No one sees it and it’s itchy and bothers me anyway, but now with everyone else doing it I almost have to grow one.”

When the power of the 'stache can't convince him, there's always peer pressure. And don't get discouraged.

“Everyone’s able [to grow a mustache],” Parros said. “Whether or not he can grow a successful one is a different story.”

For more excellent Parros wisdom on facial hair, including his own beard and trimming techniques, read the whole story at Puck Scene.

With that, we present a very Bleacher Report-esque best mustaches in hockey lineup. Enjoy. (*Disclaimer: This list is not exclusive. There are surely some terrific mustaches not included. Thanks you.)

Here is George Parros with his mustache in full bloom.

Next we have aforementioned Senators coach, Paul MacLean.

How about the mustache that Parros calls underrated, Terry Rushkowski?

Here's some appreciation for the referees, specifically Bill McCreary.

One of the most fondly remembered mustaches the ice has ever seen, Wendel Clark.

Last but certainly not least, the near consensus No. 1 mustache in hockey history (and maybe in sports history), Lanny McDonald.

Photos: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 26, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Jonas Hiller to wear mustache mask for 'Movember'

By Brian Stubits

October is breast cancer awareness month. Players in all sports, including Montreal's Carey Price, show their support by wearing pink. Price went so far as to have a special mask made that would later be auctioned off with proceeds going to charity.

When the calendar flips to November another honorable cause will be honored across the NHL.

It's known as Movember and has really caught on in the hockey world. The entire point is for men to grow the best and most wicked mustaches they can in the month of November while they get their efforts sponsored. The point is not only to raise funds for, but bring awareness to men's health, specifically prostate cancer. It's a very cool and fun way for guys to take part in a good cause. We end up with 'staches like Sidney Crosby's from last year.

But nobody, not even Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck's glorious mustache, will sport a tribute as awesome as Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller. He'll trade in his customary mat-black helmet (still just looks weird to me) for this awesome piece you see above with faces of his Ducks teammates all over the cage.

Remember when you were a kid and you drew mustaches on pictures everywhere you could find them? Or if you didn't actually do that, remember seeing other kids do it? That's what happened here, and the result is awesome. Drawn on mustaches rock.

But the coup-de-grace? That's the back of the mask, seen to the right. Hiller saved himself for that coveted spot where he is in full goalie pose with handlebar galore.

The mask was introduced by the website (and great Twitter follow, btw) the Goalie Guild and was so popular, it actually crashed the website for a short while.

But here is what the Goalie Guild had to say about the creation. (Also, visit the Goalie Guild site to see more photos of the mask, including from above and the front.)

When speaking with Alec [Voggel from Airxess] on one of our many Skype conversations over the past few days, here is some great background information on this special-edition Movember mask:

“Airxess came up with the idea, as we needed a game-used Hiller mask that would later be for sale because of the big demand. Hiller came up with the Movember idea himself, so as always, he gave us the input, and I had to create the design. Besides the concept, the whole testing to place all the portraits on the mask [it’s not only done by airbrush] and the painting itself I have done, while Dan 'The Man' gave the mask a nice flat finish and left some parts shiny.”

I love it. Not only do I applaud Hiller and the rest for taking part in the awareness and fundraising campaign, but I'm just a fan of mustaches. What guy isn't it (sorry ladies)? A friend of mine had his bachelor party over the summer and we were all required to sport our best 'staches. Fun times.

As far as specialty masks go, this one is a keeper.

Photos: The Goalie Guild/Airxess

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 12:43 pm
 

50 things to know, ask and watch for this season

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By: Adam Gretz


The biggest thing we're watching as the NHL gets ready to drop the puck on the 2011-12 season is when will Penguins captain Sidney Crosby be able return to the lineup?

The only answer to that question, of course, is simply "when he's ready," and not a moment sooner.

But when will that be? That's the question we've been asking since January, and even though it appears to be getting closer, and optimism about his return is higher than it's ever been since he was knocked out of the lineup on Jan. 6, he's not going to be on the ice when the Penguins open up in Vancouver on Thursday night, and he isn't likely to be cleared for contact until Pittsburgh returns from its season-opening trek through western Canada.

Perhaps just as important as when he returns, is whether or not he'll be the same player he was before he left. Prior to the injury Crosby's game had evolved over the previous two seasons to the point where he went from being a great set-up man to the Penguins' go-to goal-scorer, as well as their No. 1 option in the face-off circle. When he left the Penguins' lineup last season he was in the middle of the best year of his career and was on a pace to shatter just about all of his previous career highs.

Not only due to the length of his absence from the game and from contact, but also because of the nature of the injury, there has to be a question of how quickly he'll be able to be that player again.

So that's the big story we're watching this year, and here the other 49 of our 50 things to know, ask and watch for during the 2010-11 season…

2. CBA Talks: This likely won't be settled during the season, but it's still going to loom large and is the giant elephant sitting in the living room ready to make a huge stinking mess all over the couch and floor if you don't feed him on time. The NFL had its lockout come and go, missing only a couple of weeks of training camp and a meaningless preseason game, and the NBA lockout continues to roll on. And soon it will be the NHL's turn. The last time the league was in this situation we lost an entire season, so there's that to keep in mind. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball continues to have labor peace. What a strange world we live in.

3. Brendan Shanahan: The first question we have is whether or not Brendan Shanahan will get tired of making those videos? (We hope the answer is no; because they're great). The second question is whether or not the suspensions will continue at the same torrid pace we saw in the preseason, or if that was simply the "message sending" phase? And if so, will the players get the message?

4. Player safety debates: After a disturbingly dreadful summer that saw the untimely deaths of three young players, all of whom were fighters, the fighting debate reached an entirely new level, even though we don't know how -- or if -- the two were connected. Should all hits to the head be banned? Is no-touch icing long overdue? Crosby's concussion is the one everybody is talking about, but there's also Matthew Lombardi in Toronto and his recovery. Marc Staal, the top defenseman for the New York Rangers, is still having problems following the concussion he suffered late last season, and there's concern as to whether or not Marc Savard of the Boston Bruins will ever play in an NHL game again.

5. Winter Classic: The highlight of the NHL's regular season schedule takes place in Philadelphia between two bitter rivals, the Flyers and Rangers, on Jan. 2. It's the first time a New York team has appeared in the game, and the Flyers host it for the first time after losing to Boston in overtime back in 2010. Last year's game in Pittsburgh featured unseasonable warmth and rain, forcing a delay and some miserable ice conditions. Here's hoping Eastern Pennsylvania gives us better weather.

6. Winnipeg Jets return: The playoffs would be great for no other reason than to see a return of the Winnipeg Whiteout, but even though that seems like a long shot at this point their first taste of the NHL since 1996 should make every game at the MTS Centre have the feel of a Stanley Cup Final game.



7. Bruins repeat attempt: Over the past 20 years we've only seen two teams repeat as Stanley Cup Champions -- the 1991 and 1992 Pittsburgh Penguins and the 1996 and 1997 Detroit Red Wings. The Bruins seem to have what it takes to return to the top of the NHL mountain.

8. Realignment decision: The NHL hasnt gone through a divisional realignment in over a decade but it appears to be coming. Detroit wants to go to the East and claims that it's been promised that it will happen, and Winnipeg should be headed to the west.  What other changes -- if any -- will we see?

9. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: The No. 1 overall pick in the June draft is starting the season with the Edmonton Oilers after a strong preseason effort. Is it simply a nine-game look before he gets sent back to his Junior team, or does he make it through the entire season with the big club? Recent history is on his side for making a full-season stay with the Oilers.

10. The NBA lockout: No, this isn't specifically an NHL issue, but if the NBA lockout rolls into the regular season will the NHL gain more exposure because of it, and, perhaps more importantly, will the league be able to take advantage of that opportunity?

11. Life in Philly without Richards and Carter and with Bryzgalov: After a revolving door of mediocre goaltending and an endless list of questions about the position over the years, the Philadelphia Flyers went all in on Ilya Bryzgalov. And now there are some questions about how they'll be able to score after trading Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

12. Capitals' offensive/defensive balance: Last season the Washington Capitals went from a run-and-gun offensive juggernaut to a defensive-minded team that went from 15th in goals allowed per game the previous season all the way up to fourth. Can they find the happy medium this season and finally get over the playoff hump?

SW313. Nashville negotiations: It took the arbitration process to get Shea Weber signed to a one-year deal, and he's up for restricted free agency again this offseason. Even worse for the Predators is the upcoming unrestricted free agency of Ryan Suter. And don't forget starting goaltender, and last year's runner-up in the Vezina voting, Pekka Rinne. Two big-time defensemen, a top goalie and three massive contract questions for one of the NHL's most efficient franchises.

14. Doughty's new dough: Drew Doughty is now the third highest paid defensemen in the NHL on a yearly basis, and that means he's going to be expected to play like one of the top defensemen in the NHL. He's shown he's capable of it in the past, but his production regressed a bit last season. When you're making over $7 million a year that can no longer happen.

15. Sales of Dallas, Phoenix and St. Louis: We're still waiting for some sort of resolution to the three ownership sales that have dragged on for quite a while.

16. Year two of Boucher in Tampa Bay: In his debut season Guy Boucher took the Tampa Bay Lightning to within one game of the Stanley Cup Finals, and that surely has expectations high for his second year on the job.

17. New-look Sharks: Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi are gone. Martin Havlat and Brent Burns are in. Either San Jose and Minnesota are swapping rosters one trade at a time, or the Sharks feel these are the moves that can finally get them to kick through the door that has been the Western Conference Finals.

18. Perry's encore: OK, let's be honest, nobody had Corey Perry scoring 50 goals and leading the NHL last season, right? He's always been an excellent player -- and a frustrating one to play against, and an easy player to, let's say ... dislike, when he's not on your team-- but prior to last year he only topped the 30-goal mark once in his career. Logic says he returns closer to the 30-goal player he's always been. But logic also said he wouldn't score 50 goals last year.

19. Thomas, the Vezina and the Hart Trophy: Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas has won the Vezina Trophy two of the past three years, and would have to be the early season favorite to win it again. He's also set his sights on another major NHL award: The Hart Trophy. That one is going to be tough simply because goalies don't typically win that award. It's only happened seven times in the history of the league, and only three times since the league expanded beyond six teams -- Jose Theodore in 2002, and back-to-back wins for Dominik Hasek in 1997 and 1998.  

20. First-year coaches: Is there a Guy Boucher rookie success story among the NHL's new head coaches, including first-year guys like Minnesota's Mike Yeo, Florida's Kevin Dineen, Winnipeg's Claude Noel and Ottawa's Paul MacLean?

21. Pegula-ville: Buffalo has always been a great hockey town, but these people are absolutely stoked about their new owner, and he went on a summer spending spree that topped just about every other team in the league. But will it pay off?

22. NHL starts in Europe: The Ducks, Sabres, Rangers and Kings are all opening their season in Europe. Will one of these teams lift Lord Stanley's Cup at the end of the season? Fun fact: In each of the past three seasons a team that started its season overseas ended up winning the Stanley Cup -- Pittsburgh in 2008, Chicago in 2009 and Boston in 2010.

23. Brodeur's last hurrah? Martin Brodeur has accomplished just about everything a goaltender can accomplish as a hockey player, but will this be his final year in the NHL? Back in April he hinted that it could be.

BR124. Rangers have a new star: Hello, Brad Richards. You're the latest free agent savior of the New York Rangers! Actually, after so many free agency failures over the years this might be one signing that really does pay off for blue shirts in a big way.

25. Islanders arena situation: What will come of the Islanders quest for a new -- and needed -- home? Is Brooklyn the answer?

26. Sophomore slumps: Do you believe in the Sophomore jinx? Personally, I don't, but I am curious to see what Carolina's Jeff Skinner and San Jose's Logan Couture have to offer in year two.

27. New Panthers ... new results? No team was busier this summer than the Florida Panthers, completely overhauling their roster, in part because they had to spend an obscene amount of money just to reach the NHL's salary cap floor. It's definitely a new team, but is it a better team? I guess that depends on how much faith you have in Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky and Scott Upshall.

28. How bad are the Senators? On paper, it looks like it's going to be a long season for Ottawa as it celebrates its 20th year in the NHL, but how bad are we talking here? Simply on the outside of the playoff picture, or are we looking at a team that's competing for the worst mark in the NHL?

29. Breakthrough year for Kings: After acquiring Mike Richards the Kings went from being a playoff team in the Western Conference to a legitimate Stanley Cup contender with the type of depth down the middle (Richards, Anze Kopitar and Jarett Stoll) a team needs to win it all.

30. Hiller's recovery from vertigo: Jonas Hiller says the vertigo symptoms that robbed him of a good portion of his season -- and the playoffs -- a year ago are gone, and the Ducks need that to be the case if they're going to make a push in the Western Conference. Hiller is one of the best goalies in the league and if he's 100 percent healthy can be a difference maker for Anaheim.

31. Heatley back on a top line: Coming off one of the worst goal-scoring seasons of his career Dany Heatley gets a fresh start in Minnesota, and he's going to be relied on to be a top goal-scoring option for the Wild. Was last year the start of a decline in Heatley's career, or does he return to the 40-goal form we're used to seeing?

32. Will Detroit's defense be good enough? The Red Wings defense has declined a bit in recent years, and this year they're looking to replace Brian Rafalski following his retirement. Nicklas Lidstrom still scores like a champ, but he's not getting any younger back there.

33. Is Matt Cooke a changed man? Penguins agitator Matt Cooke claims he's a changed man following a season that saw him earn two suspensions, including a 17-game ban following a hit on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. It's one thing to say it, but we have to see it.

34. Varlamov gets another shot: The Avalanche need the Semyon Varlamov gamble to work out, not just because they desperately need an upgrade in net, owning the worst save percentage in the league last season, but also because their first-round pick in 2012 -- perhaps a very, very high selection -- now belongs to the Washington Capitals as a result of the trade that brought him to Colorado.  

35. Benn will star for the Stars: The Dallas Stars have done a nice job developing forwards in recent years, and Jamie Benn looks like he's ready to become a 30-goal scorer.

36. Bryzgalov will be missed in Phoenix: The Coyotes will struggle to return to the playoffs for a third consecutive year as they try to replace Ilya Bryzgalov with Mike Smith and Jason LaBarbera. Smith is familiar with coach Dave Tippett, but Bryzgalov was a big part of their success the past two years and he won't be easy to replace.

37. The Blue Jackets will be more entertaining: Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski fill huge needs and Ryan Johansen can be a contender for the Calder Trophy. The playoffs are a real possibility in Columbus, and even if the Jackets fail to qualify, they will at least be a more interesting team to watch this year.

38. Patrick Kane at center: Simply put, how long will this experiment last?

39. Vokoun/Neuvirth/Holtby trio of goaltenders in Washington: An experienced veteran signed for way below his market value and two extremely talented youngsters. Michal Neuvirth still thinks the job is his, and when combined with his talent that level of determination has to be an exciting prospect for the Capitals. Vokoun, though, is no slouch and has been one of the best goaltenders in the league the past few years playing on one of the league's worst teams.

40. Malkin's return to the top of the scoring race: For most players, simply averaging a point-per-game is a success. For a player with Malkin's ability it's considered a disappointment. This season he looks poised to return to the top of the NHL's scoring race and contend for the Art Ross Trophy. Speaking of which...

Sedins

41. Will somebody other than the Sedin's win the scoring title? The past two years two different players from the same family have won the NHL's scoring title. Is it a three-peat for the Sedin twins?

42. Jaromir Jagr: Does he have anything left? The summer of Jagr was certainly interesting, especially if you were following the #jagrwatch on Twitter, but how much does the 39-year-old forward have left in the tank? Philadelphia might need a lot.

43. How big of an issue is Markov's knee? Andrei Markov is still Montreal's best defenseman and he's still fighting through some problems with the knee injuries that have plagued him over the past two years. After losing Wisniewski and Roman Hamrlik the Canadiens need him to be healthy.

44. Will Detroit need an upgrade on Jimmy Howard? The Red Wings say they're happy with their goaltending situation, but twice in the past seven months they've tried to add a veteran goaltender, signing Evgeni Nabokov last season only to lose him on waivers before he could report to the team, and making a run at Tomas Vokoun this summer. That's not a coincidence.

45. Center of attention in Toronto: The Maple Leafs have been searching for a true No. 1 center for quite some time, and after missing out on Brad Richards over the summer went with Tim Connolly on a two-year deal. The good news is he's not a bad player, but the bad news is he's constantly injured. Matthew Lombardi is in the mix if he can overcome his concussion problem, but after that it's a relatively thin group. Heck, even with them it's a thin group.

46. Edmonton's defense: The Oilers have loads of potential at the forward positions but their defense is a mess after Ryan Whitney. Who will step up on their blue line?

47. How many games for DiPietro? Like the Oilers the Islanders hope rests with their collection of forwards while serious questions about their defense and goaltending will haunt them all year. For the Islanders the yearly question (as it will be through 2020) is how many games will the oft-injured Rick DiPietro be in the lineup?

48. Bouwmeester: big money, little offense in Calgary: When the Flames gave Jay Bouwmeester over $6 million per year three years ago they were probably expecting way more offense than this. He's averaged just around 27 points per season since signing with Calgary after averaging over 40 during his finals three seasons with Florida, primarily because his goal-scoring ability has suddenly disappeared. Sixty-eight defenseman recorded more points than his 24 last season.

49. Parise's return: Not only his return to the lineup for the full-season, but also his return to being one of the top left wings in the NHL, will go a long way toward helping the Devils in their effort return to the playoffs after a disappointing season a year ago. In a contract year, Parise needs a big season on a personal level to strike it rich next summer.

50. How many 50-goal scorers will we see? During the 2010-11 season we saw one 50-goal scorer (Perry), down from the three we had the previous season. The preseason favorites have to be Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos, and Crosby might be able to get into that mix if he returns to action early enough.

Photos: Getty Images

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com