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Preseason Primer: Central

Eastern Conference · Western Conference
 
Central · Northwest · Pacific
 

Wes Goldstein's take: Detroit is a classic example of a winner getting the spoils. The Red Wings managed the biggest coup of the offseason by signing Marian Hossa ... The Blackhawks seem poised to take the next step after a busy summer that saw them make some of the biggest splashes in the free-agent market ... Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock will begin his second training camp in Columbus with a team that has more scoring punch up front, a deeper blue line and added toughness to boot ... The scrappy Predators have developed a knack for making themselves a perennial playoff contender despite dealing with problems that are rarely of their own doing ... St. Louis ranked among the bottom five teams in both overall scoring and power-play conversions last season, and did little of note to upgrade over the summer. Full Story

 
Chicago Blackhawks
Location
United Center, Chicago, Ill; The Edge, Bensenville, Ill.
Practice begins
Sept. 19
Key Additions
Brian Campbell, D; Cristobal Huet, G
Key Subtractions
Rene Bourque, LW; Jason Williams, RW
Rookies to watch
• Corey Crawford, G; Jack Skille, RW
Keep an eye on: Duncan Keith, D
Keith made great strides in this third full season, posting a career high 12 goals. He could become even more dangerous if coach Denis Savard decides to pair him with newcomer Brian Campbell.
 
Columbus Blue Jackets
Location
Dispatch Ice Haus, Columbus, Ohio
Practice begins
Sept. 20
Key Additions
Kristian Huselius, LW; R.J. Umberger, C
Key Subtractions
Ron Hainsey, D; Nikolai Zherdev, RW
Rookies to watch
• Nikita Filatov, LW; Jakub Voracek, RW
Keep an eye on: Rick Nash, LW
Nash managed to develop into a premier goal scorer with a variety of average or below-average linemates. Playing alongside R.J. Umberger and Kristian Huselius is sure to have a positive impact on the Blue Jackets captain.
 
Detroit Red Wings
Location
Centre ICE Arena, Traverse City, Mich.
Practice begins
Sept. 20
Key Additions
Marian Hossa, RW; Ty Conklin, G
Key Subtractions
Dallas Drake, LW; Dominik Hasek, G
Rookies to watch
• Ville Leino LW; Jonathan Ericsson, D
Keep an eye on: Johan Franzen, LW
Franzen wrapped up last season with 28 goals in his last 30 games, 11 of which were game winners. If the Mule's charge wasn't a fluke, he could end up as the Red Wings' leading goal scorer this season.
 
Nashville Predators
Location
Sommet Center & Centennial Sportsplex, Nashville, Tenn.
Practice begins
Sept. 20
Key Additions
Josh Gratton, LW
Key Subtractions
Alex Radulov, RW; Chris Mason, G
Rookies to watch
• Cody Franson, D; Pekka Rinne, G
Keep an eye on: Antti Pihlstrom, LW
Pihlstrom scored 27 goals with Milwaukee (AHL) last season. The Finn only has one game of NHL experience, but he may be forced to develop more quickly and chip in some of the offense lost by the departure of Alex Radulov.
 
St. Louis Blues
Location
St. Louis Mills & Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Mo.
Practice begins
Sept. 19
Key Additions
Chris Mason, G; Brad Winchester, LW
Key Subtractions
Jamal Mayers, C; Martin Rucinsky, LW
Rookies to watch
• Patrik Berglund, C; T.J. Oshie, C
Keep an eye on: Manny Legace, G
Legace played a career-high 66 games last season, but put up average numbers behind a sub-par Blues squad. He is expected to get some competition from newcomer Chris Mason for the starting role.
 
 
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