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NHL Season Preview: The most important question to answer for each team in 2018-19

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4 weeks out from training camp we look at each team’s most pressing question for the 2018-19 season

Pittsburgh Penguins v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Training camp officially starts 4 weeks from today! With summer (mostly) mercifully over and most of the dust for the off-season settling, here’s an important question for each team to answer for the 2018-19 season.

Anaheim Ducks: With the entire (aging) core coming off a fifth straight 100+ point season, how can they find the extra gear to get over the playoff hurdle?

Arizona Coyotes: Is this finally the year for a young team to leave the cellar behind and make a run at a playoff spot?

Boston Bruins: Can a good team in a division of giants find a way to likely have to beat both of them in the playoffs?

Buffalo Sabres: Talent has been infused and first overall pick Rasmus Dahlin is on the scene, can Buffalo stay competitive past Christmas for the first time in a long time?

Calgary Flames: By adding James Neal, Elias Lindholm, Derek Ryan and Noah Hanafin is it possible that Canada’s best two teams will both be in the West?

Carolina Hurricanes: Is Peter Mrazek and the hope Scott Darling bounces back enough to finally solve the goalie dilemma?

Chicago Blackhawks: Can the hands of time be reset for their group to contend again?

Colorado Avalanche: Will other lines step up to help Nathan MacKinnon’s?

Columbus Blue Jackets: How will the ticking time bomb known as the Artemi Panarin expiring contract be resolved, and how will they let it affect their 2018-19 outlook?

Dallas Stars: Why isn’t anyone talking about how Tyler Seguin is going to be an unrestricted free agent next summer?

Detroit Red Wings: Going on year 3 of the playoff drought, how much longer will they wander the desert and is it as long as it appears to be at this point?

Edmonton Oilers: How in the world are the squandering the best years of Connor McDavid and they’re really not going to play Ty Rattie as his right wing, right?

Florida Panthers: Will the Mike Hoffman drama hurt or help propel a team on the upswing back into the playoffs?

Los Angeles Kings: Is Ilya Kovalchuk going to be a re-invigorated player after his hiatus to the KHL (ala Jaromir Jagr or Alex Radulov) or will he show his age (35)?

Minnesota Wild: What’s the next step for a consistently good but not great team with no real hope for a breakout really going to be?

Montreal Canadiens: Can Carey Price (who has played <60 games in two of the last four years) regain health, play .930% goalie again and cover up a lot of management’s inefficiencies from recent years?

Nashville Predators: How does last year’s President Trophy winners bounce back from a second round exit?

New Jersey Devils: After a quiet summer, why didn’t Ray Shero look to make external upgrades for a team that seemingly needed it?

New York Islanders: Can a team apply to get a conditional #1 overall pick when a #1 overall pick in his prime leaves via free agency? No? Well, doesn’t hurt to ask.

New York Rangers: With a somewhat veteran team and a number of fairly useful players, can a hockey team actually rebuild effectively without totally stripping down?

Ottawa Senators: At this point, how can they manage to bungle up the Erik Karlsson situation? (And...why does everyone feel like they will end up doing the exact opposite?)

Philadelphia Flyers: Year 44- what will it be that holds them back; the coach, the goalies or some unholy combination of both?

Pittsburgh Penguins: How will Matt Murray fare after a tough season?

San Jose Sharks: Can Evander Kane prove to be the missing ingredient after all these years?

St. Louis Blues:Will reinforcements Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Tyler Bozak and Patrick Maroon get STL back to the playoffs?

Tampa Bay Lightning: Can the team that seemingly “has it all” actually take that next step?

Toronto Maple Leafs: How will adding John Tavares affect the whole dynamic of the team, East Conference and league as a whole?

Vancouver Canucks: What direction will a seemingly directionless team veer for this season?

Vegas Golden Knights: Can lightning strike twice or will the expansion team come back to earth?

Washington Capitals: What’s in store for an encore when the team that never could do it finally did it?

Winnipeg Jets: What will happen in a strong division for a strong team looking to get past a tough Nashville squad again?

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It will be interesting to see how all these questions play out, some successfully but some not so successfully for the teams as the prepare to navigate another season.