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NHL Headlines for 2014-2015

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Can Sidney Crosby erase last year's ghostly performance in the playoffs?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Anaheim - A lot of talk about hockey's version of a scandalous "tell all" by Teemu Selanne but in the end, their season will come down to whether or not Frederik Andersson or John Gibson can carry the team in the playoffs.

Arizona - As it always is, as it ever was... the story for the Coyotes franchise will be off the ice as the franchise continues to lose money in a location it never should have relocated. Coyotes have some nice players but when Oliver Ekman-Larsson is your star player, you don't have much room for error.

Boston - Bruins lost Jarome Iginla and because of salary cap purposes, they had to dump Johnny Boychuk to the Islanders. The Bruins will need Reilly Smith to repeat his out of nowhere performance from last season and hope that Zdeno Chara continues to play as if he's a Greek God at the top of the mountain.

Buffalo - The surprise team of the NHL should be the Sabres. Brian Gionta's little ball of fire should be the veteran leadership the young guys need to help drive the franchise to be better than the last few years. I expect them to push for the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference but just miss out.

Calgary - Is there a franchise in Canada that embarrasses itself more than the Flames? I have my doubts after they signed Deryk Engelland for three years at $2.9 million per season. Good luck in Calgary.

Carolina - Hurricanes have already lost Jordan Staal for three to four months to a broken leg. The lack of depth in Carolina was already a concern, there could be #McDavidWatch parties going on in Raleigh this winter.

Chicago - Another year, another re-tooling by Stan Bowman as he managed to keep both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane plus got a cheap deal for Brad Richards to be the second line center. Probably unfair as he's answered the criticism year after year but is Corey Crawford the guy to keep the Blackhawks as Stanley Cup contenders? What happens to Chicago's defense losing Nick Leddy to a salary cap forced trade to the Islanders?

Colorado - Patrick Roy had a fine year coaching the Avalanche with a young team. Expectations should change this season as Nathan Mackinnon enters his second year in the league and team tasted playoff failure to help drive their next step. Do they have enough quality defensemen to get there?

Columbus - As if it was bad enough the franchise has engaged itself into a protracted contract dispute with Ryan Johansen, they'll be without oft-injured Nathan Horton and Boone Jenner. Not having your first line is a bad way to start the season.

Dallas - It could be an exciting season for the Stars as Tyler Seguin settles into his second season with Dallas playing on a line with Jamie Benn and Valeri Nichushkin. The addition of skilled forwards Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky is a bet that both players will be motivated to perform in a new environment after years of pressure in Canada.

Detroit - Wings have a nice roster but since the production of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Johan Franzen have dipped for the last few years, it will take more from Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Tomas Jurco to help prop up the team seeing as though their investment in Stephen Weiss might have been wishful thinking.

Edmonton - Is there a more misplaced skilled player in the game than Nail Yakupov on the third line with Boyd Gordon and Teddy Purcell?

Florida - Trying to figure out the method to his madness will drive you nuts but GM Dale Tallon appears to be pushing his chips in this year bringing in Jussi Jokinen, Dave Bolland, and Willie Mitchell to support young guys like Aaron Ekblad, Vincent Trocheck, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Nick Bjustad. If the Panthers fail, Tallon won't be around to fix it.. yet sadly, is there anyone in Florida that cares?

Los Angeles - The best depth chart down the middle in the NHL with Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, and Jarret Stoll but there's so much more to this team than their centers. If you can find a problem with the roster assembled by Dean Lombardi, please let me know. I can't find it. Oh yeah, that Drew Doughty guy, he's pretty good.

Minnesota - For a year, many expected it to happen and it did as Thomas Vanek signed with the Wild as a free agent. It will be interesting to see what happens if the Wild struggle as they enter the season with questionable goaltending with Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom.

Montreal - The Canadiens had a chance last season after upsetting the Bruins but I wasn't impressed with the offseason execution by GM Marc Bergevin besides locking up P.K. Subban. If Canadiens get beyond the first round, it will be another masterful coaching job by Michel Therrien.

Nashville - After only knowing hockey through the boring prism coached by Barry Trotz, Predators decided to spice things up with the hiring of Peter Laviolette. They've added James Neal, Mike Ribeiro, Olli Jokinen, Derek Roy, and Anton Volchenkov to help re-stock the organization after missing the playoffs for two years. Expect bigger things from Seth Jones this year with better skill up front.

New Jersey - Someone should probably tell Lou Lamoriello the Devils do not play hockey in a men's recreational league as they have more players 30 years or older led by 42 year old Jaromir Jagr.

New York Islanders - After making the playoffs and losing in the first round against the Penguins, last season Islanders struggled to compete because of their goaltending, defense, and losing John Tavares to a knee injury. GM Garth Snow addressed those issues by signing goaltender Jaroslav Halak to replace Evgeni Nabokov, added to his team's depth at forward signing Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, and then as training camp was winding down, he had the cap space and needs to acquire defensemen Johnny Boychuk from Boston and Nick Leddy from Chicago. This will be a dangerous team if these changes address their needs and they stay healthy.

New York Rangers - Derek Stepan will be out with a broken leg which hurts after buying out Brad Richards. The Rangers made it to the Stanley Cup Final but I don't see that happening again as the magic and grief created by the death of Martin St Louis' mother cannot be recreated for obvious reasons.

Ottawa - Trading Jason Spezza was needed for both parties to move on but signing Bobby Ryan to 7-years $50.75 million basically puts him into the category as the team's main offensive producer.

Philadelphia - The Flyers went from having a solid three lines at forward three years ago to now having to rely on a broken down Vincent Lecavalier to be the second line center and dumped Scott Hartnell to acquire third liner R.J. Umberger. If that isn't bad enough, Claude Giroux was arrested for grabbing butts and there's the long-term health concern with Kimmo Timonen due to blood clots in his lungs and right leg.

Pittsburgh - Little discussion about why Sidney Crosby struggled to skate during the playoffs. What injury has Evgeni Malkin missing the entire training camp? Will the contract status for Marc-Andre Fleury distract him? Is it time for Crosby to adjust to life without both Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis on his wings?

San Jose - The most combustible situation could be in San Jose as the Sharks have done little to hide their feelings that aging veterans Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau could be traded to cut payroll and get younger. After blowing a 3-0 series lead to the Kings in game 7, this team could be in a free fall before one game is played.

St. Louis - The Blues might have had the best offseason signing Paul Stastny, keeping Steve Ott, and quickly deciding Ryan Miller wasn't the answer in net. The downside is whether or not Brian Elliott or Jake Allen can handle the pressure of expectations for a team so loaded with talent.

Tampa Bay - Lightning had a good run last season with their young players stepping up and with the hope that Steven Stamkos is healthy plus the veteran additions of Brenden Morrow and Brian Boyle at forward and Anton Stralman on defense, can they take the next step. It will be interesting to watch what Jonathan Drouin can do in the NHL after putting up insane numbers in QMJHL.

Toronto - What's the saying... if you have two, you have none? Not sure the Maple Leafs are doing themselves any favors going into the season with both James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier. If you are David Clarkson... are you wishing you had taken a deal with another franchise?

Vancouver - Things could be really ugly for the Canucks as the team is undergoing a rebuild while stuck in the past with the diving duo of Henrik and Daniel Sedin then signing Ryan Miller.

Washington - There isn't much to think about here. If Alexander Ovechkin doesn't buy into the Barry Trotz systematic play of boring hockey, this team won't win. New GM Brian MacLellan did nothing in free agency to prop up a stale group at forward but did overspend on defense signing Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. Don't be surprised if Trotz and MacLellan get one year and then are fired by owner Ted Leonsis so he can hire Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma.

Winnipeg - Everyone, let's give a round of applause for Mathieu Perreault.... that's right, Perreault was THE free agent signing this summer by the Jets. Fans in Winnipeg deserve better than what the Jets did this offseason doing basically nothing to fix an ordinary team. Head Coach Paul Maurice has a tough road ahead of him to get this team competitive.