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30 Teams In 30 Days-Edmonton Oilers

Join TSN in a 30 teams in 30 days tour of the NHL in preparation for the upcoming season. Teams will be unveiled in reverse order of the pre-season TSN.ca Power Rankings, and the Edmonton Oilers are up first. Get the lowdown on their off-season, the issues they face this season, and Scott Cullen's fantasy analysis.

Edmonton Oilers

2009-10: 27-47-8 (15th in West, missed the playoffs)

General Manager: Steve Tambellini (3rd Season)

Head Coach: Tom Renney (1st Season)

What they did in the off-season:

The Oilers made a coaching change following last year's dismal campaign, moving coach Pat Quinn into a front-office role and bumping associate coach Tom Renney up to head coach. Renney then brought in former Swiss national team coach Ralph Krueger as an associate coach. Then, with the prize selection at June's entry draft, the Oilers used the top pick to select Windsor Spitfires' sniper Taylor Hall -- their franchise player of the future -- and a young star who will most definitely battle for a spot on the team right away. The Oilers also signed 35-year-old netminder Martin Gerber as an insurance policy on their existing three goalies, bringing the Swiss keeper back to this side of the pond after a one year KHL sojourn. The extra insurance between the pipes became necessary when incumbent number one Nikolai Khabibulin was sentenced to a minimum 30-days in jail after being found guilty in an Arizona court on speeding and DUI charges. In other dealings, the Oilers gave restricted free agent forward Gilbert Brule a two-year contract, rewarding the 23-year-old for the best season of his NHL career and also re-upped Sam Ganger with a two-year deal of his own. Edmonton then gutted their underachieving roster that finished dead last, shedding Ethan Moreau, Mike Comrie, Patrick O'Sullivan, Ryan Stone, Chris Minard, Robert Nilsson, Marc Pouliot and Riley Nash.

Biggest issue facing the team:

Although there is plenty of reasons for optimism in the one-time "City of Champions", make no mistake, the Oilers are not going to be a very good hockey team once again this season. The silver lining is that the team will give their young players as much ice time to develop as they need.

The Oilers biggest objective going into the season is to allow 'uber-prospects' Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajvari (after dropping the additional Svensson surname) and Linus Omark to get their feet wet at the NHL level and hopefully by the end of the season they will be rewarded for their faith in the youth movement. That being said attempting to break in that many youngsters at the same time means that there will be some very long nights this season for the team as the losses pile up. The club will be forced to take their lumps along the way, assuming they stay the course and don't panic in an attempt to win right away, if they do so the Oilers will see dividends likely as early as next season. In the meantime Oilers fans can sit back and watch a young team develop, safe in the knowledge that the rebuilding effort is in full swing.

Player to watch:

It became clear last season that Jordan Eberle had absolutely nothing left to prove in Junior hockey. Eberle first rose to prominence by helping lead Canada to gold at the 2008 U-18 World Championship and then etched his name in the Canadian hockey history books by scoring the tying goal with under five seconds left in the semi-final game at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship.

For an encore Eberle returned to the World Junior tournament this past January, and led an improbable Canadian comeback once again in the gold medal game; scoring twice in the final three minutes to force overtime. While Canada would eventually lose in OT, it was clear that a star had been born. Eberle was named the top forward and Most Valuable player of the tournament as Canada claimed silver. His play earned him an invite by Mark Messier to join Canada's team at the 2010 World Hockey championship in Germany. Despite his young age and diminutive size, Eberle proved that he belonged with the best in the World and earned player of the game honours in a rout of Norway.

Eberle is clearly ready for a new challenge and has been earmarked for a spot on one of the Oilers top two lines this season. He will be given a very long leash by Oilers brass and will be given every opportunity to flourish. With all the ice time he can handle, a Calder Trophy may well be on the horizon for the Regina native.

Source/TSN

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30 Teams In 30 Days- # 29 New York Islanders

New York Islanders

2009-10: 34-37-11 (13th in East, missed the playoffs)

General Manager: Garth Snow (4th Season)

Head Coach: Scott Gordon (3rd Season)

What they did in the off-season:

The Isles re-signed Matt Moulson and Rob Schremp while buying out defenceman Brendan Witt. It took much longer than expected but eventually captain Doug Weight put pen to paper and agreed to a one-year contract extension. Nino Niederreiter was drafted fifth overall while Mark Eaton, Zenon Kenopka and Jon Sim were signed as a free agents. James Wisniewski was acquired from the salary cap strapped Ducks. While the Isles sniffed around Ilya Kovalchuk for a bit, that deal never materialized and it was a very quiet summer in Long Island.

Biggest issue facing the team:

It is generally not a very good sign for an NHL team when your highest paid player is currently playing in Russia. Yes the Isles will be paying Alexei Yashin over $4.7 million this season to not play for them. The good news is that after this season there is only four years left on his deal…wait that's not very good news at all. While the Isles have not lost any significant pieces from last year's team they have not exactly added too many impact players to a team that finished 13th in the East, struggled with offense and is by an large comprised of third and fourth line players. Should John Tavares go through a sophomore slump or should Moulson's 30 goal tally prove to be just an aberration, then the Islanders are going to be in a lot of trouble. Maybe they can convince Yashin to abandon SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL and return to New York to inject some much needed offensive pop to a team in desperate need of it. On second thought, maybe Yashin is fine right where he is.

Player to watch:

After missing out on a Calder Trophy nomination last season, John Tavares is looking to break out offensively this campaign the same way Steven Stamkos did during his sophomore season. Tavares is far and away the most talented offensive player on the Isles, however he does not have a great deal of help around him, and when he went through lengthy goal-scoring droughts, there was no one to pick up the slack. Although Mark Streit is a legitimate power play quarterback, New York is largely lacking in wingers who know how to put the biscuit in the basket. While Moulson's 30 goals was an extremely pleasant surprise, many do not believe that he can accomplish the feat again. Budding power forward Kyle Okposo has not developed as quickly as the team would undoubtedly like. Youngsters such as Frans Nielsen, Blake Comeau and Josh Bailey all made strides in the right direction in their first full NHL seasons; however it is clear that this team will live and die with the offensive talents of the 'John John Phenomenon.'

Fortunately for New York, Tavares is a remarkable talent that has been able to pile up points wherever he goes. In one year's time we will likely be saying his name in the same hushed tones reserved for the truly elite talents in the game. Until then he will face one of his toughest ever tests as he attempts to drag this once proud franchise back to credibility.

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30 Teams In 30 Days-#28 Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets

2009-10: 32-35-15 (14th in West, missed the playoffs)

General Manager: Scott Howson (4th Season)

Head Coach: Scott Arniel (1st Season)

What they did in the off-season:

After firing coach Ken Hitchcock during the season and having Claude Noel finish it as interim coach the Blue Jackets brought in an entirely new coaching staff in June. They turned to Scott Arniel, head coach of the AHL's Manitoba Moose, who chose assistant coaches Dan Hinote, Brad Berry, and Bob Boughner, who is coming of back-to-back Memorial Cups with the Windsor Spitfires.

While the coaching staff is new, the Columbus roster hasn't changed much. The Jackets picked up Ethan Moreau off waivers from the Oilers, and although he is expected to play on the third line, the team wants Moreau to be a vocal leader, awakening their solemn dressing room. The arrival of left winger Nikita Filatov in Columbus six weeks before camp has the Jackets hoping that the dynamic Russian prospect is ready to kick off his NHL career for good this time. After clashing with Hitchcock and some Columbus teammates while playing up with the Jackets, Filatov was transferred on loan to CSKA Moscow in the KHL and would need to repair some relationships if he sticks with the team this season. After a good year in Moscow last season there is reason to believe Filatov has the potential to play on one of the top two lines in Columbus this season. Anton Stralman earned a bigger contract over the summer after a solid year on defense, and now he has to live up to the expectations that come with it.

Biggest issue facing the team:

Finding consistency will be key for the Blue Jackets this season under the new coaching staff. The club had a record of 41-31-10 during the ‘08-09 season and made its first playoff appearance in franchise history. Yet, the Jackets followed that up with a 32-35-15 record last season, missing the playoffs and finishing last in the division, second last in the conference. The Blue Jackets sunk to 20th in the league in scoring last season, netting just 214 goals. Rick Nash's production dipped a little too, as he went from 40 goals and 79 points in ‘08-09 to 33 goals and 67 points in '09-10. The defense was shaky last season, and the club was outshot in 45 of its 82 games, where the year before, that happened in just 32 games. Not helping matters was the play of Steve Mason. The reliable starting goaltender, who had been so spectacular two years ago, simply wasn't the same game-changer last season, and he will need to regain that edge this year.

Player to watch:

Goaltender Steve Mason had a stellar rookie season in 2008-09, winning 33 games and earning an NHL-leading 10 shutouts with a 2.29 goals-against average. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. Mason was the biggest reason the Blue Jackets earned their first trip to the playoffs that year, but he suffered a real sophomore slump in the 2009-10 season, dipping to just 20 wins and a 3.06 GAA. The defense in front of him was often very ineffective as well. The Jackets' hopes this season rest largely on Mason proving that his play last season was simply a brief aberration.

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30 Teams In 30 Days-#27 Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers

2009-10: 32-37-13 (14th in East, missed the playoffs)

General Manager: Dale Tallon (2nd Season)

Head Coach: Peter DeBoer (2nd Season)

What they did in the off-season:

While Florida made a big splash by adding the architect of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup winning team, Dale Tallon, run to their front office, Panthers fans can't be terribly happy with what has happened since, especially when they look across the state at their Floridian rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning.

There are not a lot of reasons for optimism in Panther-land this upcoming season after the trading of top sniper Nathan Horton (along with Gregory Campbell) to the Bruins for defenceman Dennis Wideman and a pair of draft picks.

Tallon was not done dealing as he shipped defenceman Keith Ballard and forward Victor Oreskovich to the Canucks in exchange for forward Steve Bernier and prospect Michael Grabner in hopes that the young Austrian can provide some of the offensive punch lost in the Horton deal. The disappointing Ville Koistinen was bought out, while Chris Higgins, Nathan Paestch and Mike Weaver were all signed via free agency. While all three are legitimate NHL players, none are what can be considered difference makers. The Cats also exchanged Jeff Taffe for Marty Reasoner from the Thrashers. The good news is that the Panthers were able to hit pay dirt in the draft with three first round selections, however only Erik Gudbranson (picked third overall) is likely to have a shot at a roster spot this season.

Biggest issue facing the team:

While management appears ready to take the patient approach towards development, the team's dwindling fan base want a winner and an uninspiring off-season certainly is not the way to win them back. The Panthers biggest problem might be battling apathy in a sports market that received a major injection of star power thanks to LeBron James' decision to "take his talents to South Beach." The Panthers will face an uphill battle in winning the hearts and minds of the average sports fans who generally only like ice in their drinks.

In addition, losing Horton certainly does not help a team that was already struggling in the goal scoring department. Panthers' brass has to hope that the likes of Grabner and Michael Frolik take a massive leap forward in their development and that David Booth will have shaken off concussion concerns to return to his form of the 2008-09 season where he broke the 30 goal plateau. Unless everything lines up perfectly for the Panthers, it will be another long, long season in South Florida.

Player to watch:

Once again the Panthers will live and die with goaltender Tomas Vokoun. The Czech 'keeper has been a godsend for the Panthers over the past three seasons as he has kept a young and inexperienced team competitive. The 33-year old is entering the final year of his contract that will see him earn $6.3 million this season. He is worth every penny of it to the Panthers and they would undoubtedly like to sign him to an extension. However you have to wonder if Vokoun would be open to the idea as he no doubt would like to play for a contender at some point in his career. This could well become an unwanted distraction for Florida and if it appears that a deal is unlikely, than Vokoun may well be traded at some point before the deadline. He might not be the only veteran out the door as Cory Stillman, Bryan McCabe and Radek Dvorak are all entering the final years of their respective deals and may well be elsewhere by season's end.

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30 Teams In 30 Days-#26 Atlanta Thrashers

Atlanta Thrashers

2009-10: 35-34-13 (10th in East, missed the playoffs)

General Manager: Rick Dudley (1st Season)

Head Coach: Craig Ramsay (1st Season)

What they did in the off-season:

The Thrashers spent the majority of the off-season becoming “Blackhawks South” as they picked the cap strapped bones of the Stanley Cup Champions for no fewer than four players whose names were recently engraved on Hockey's Holy Grail. For the Thrashers, the idea appears to be “if you can't beat them, then you might as well attempt to emulate them.”

The re-building in Atlanta began with the hiring of Craig Ramsey as the team's new head coach. General manager Rick Dudley then got busy dealing with the Hawks, acquiring Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager and Brent Sopel in a three-team, nine player deal. Since it worked out the first time, Dudley went back to the well and brought in Andrew Ladd from the Windy City for prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy. Atlanta then shored up their goaltending situation by signing Chris Mason and extending Ondrej Pavelec. They also walked away from an arbitrator's decision to award Clarke MacArthur a $2.4 salary, making MacArthur a free agent then shipped Todd White to the Rangers in exchange for Donald Brashear (who was subsequently waived) and Patrick Rissmiller.

While the Thrashers have an abundance of cap room remaining, it does not appear as though they will be spending it on an impact signing that could improve the club's fortunes in the standings.

Biggest issue facing the team:

The departures of Max Afinogenov, MacArthur, Colby Armstrong, Slava Kozlov and White means there will be plenty of forward spots up for grabs in training camp. While there are some promising prospects on the horizon it will be difficult to fill the skates of the departing veterans, no matter how many bit pieces from the reigning Stanley Cup champs are brought in. This team is going to have a great deal of difficulty scoring. While both Evander Kane and Niclas Bergfors are expected to improve on solid rookie seasons, it would be a stretch to suggest that they would be able to carry the Thrashers into the playoffs. This was not a terribly good team to begin with and they have yet to really compensate for all of the off-season losses. With the Lightning drastically improving, the Hurricanes on the comeback trail and the Capitals as strong as ever, the Thrashers are likely to battle the Panthers all year for the basement of not just the Southeast, but likely the NHL.

Player to watch:

It will be very interesting to see how Byfuglien adjust to life in the “Dirty South.” Big Buff flourished in the playoffs skating alongside Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, doing the majority of the line's dirty work and chipping in 11 goals during the Cup drive after finding the back of the net only 17 times in the regular season. Byfuglien will have nowhere near the same level of talent on his line next season and will likely be hard pressed to emulate his post-season success. Working in his favour is the fact that he is still young and is a hulking physical package that will be given all the ice time he needs to develop his offensive touch. If he is able to continue playing at the level that he did in the playoffs, then the Thrashers may well have one of the better young power forwards in the league.

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Well to be honest even though Atlanta made some decent moves they lost Afinogenov, Armstrong, MacArthur and Kozlov along with trading Kovalchuk and Todd White so I can easily see Toronto being ahead of them, since they really dont have anyone to score more than 25 goals and Toronto at least has Kessel. Their defense might be coming together though even though they lost Kubina.

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30 Teams in 30 Days-#25 Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild

2009-10: 38-36-8 (13th in West, missed the playoffs)

General Manager: Chuck Fletcher (2nd Season)

Head Coach: Todd Richards (2nd Season)

What they did in the off-season:

The team's biggest acquisition of free agency was 33-year-old veteran centre Matt Cullen, who signed a three-year contract worth $10.5 million. The team gained even more experience along with grit by signing 37-year-old three-time Stanley Cup champion John Madden as another centre. The Wild also acquired former Calgary Flames forward Eric Nystrom, a former first-round pick. The Wild also drafted a player who is known as a 'young Saku Koivu', Mikael Granlund of Finland, to bolster the team's future. Minnesota also needed to replace some toughness, so they signed Brad Staubitz.

Derek Boogaard left the Wild to sign with the New York Rangers as an unrestricted free agent. While his offensive contributions won't be sadly missed, the 6-foot-8, 257-pounder gave the Wild serious muscle. Others who departed were forwards Owen Nolan and Andrew Ebbett and defenders John Scott and Jaime Sifers.

The franchise will also have its first permanent captain this season as Mikko Koivu takes the reigns after coming off consecutive 20-goal seasons.

Biggest issue facing the team:

The Wild have missed the playoffs three of the last five seasons. And they have dealt with some underachievement from a few of their key players, particularly last season. Martin Havlat, brought in to replace the scoring production of the departed Marian Gaborik, had a disappointing campaign on the scoreboard last year, tallying just 18 goals and 54 points. Niklas Backstrom wasn't as solid in net after signing the big contract that he earned by posting three consecutive seasons with an overall save percentage of .920 or better. Brent Burns also wasn't as effective as his usual self in 2009-10, missing about a quarter of the season with a concussion and playing with its lingering effects.

Player to watch:

Perhaps the biggest question mark for the Wild is whether or not Havlat will produce the kind of hockey warranted by a six-year, $30 million contract. He has scored upwards of 30 goals in a season before. If he can do it again, this squad's season outlook will look much more positive. That being said, Havlat has never the most durable player in the league. The Wild had to be happy that he suited up for 73 games last season, his second straight relatively injury free season. But if the Slovak sniper spends time on injured reserve this season, the Wild do not have many other offensive options. Should he miss any extended period, the Wild will suffer offensively.

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30 Teams In 30 Days-#27 Florida Panthers

Player to watch:

Once again the Panthers will live and die with goaltender Tomas Vokoun. The Czech 'keeper has been a godsend for the Panthers over the past three seasons as he has kept a young and inexperienced team competitive. The 33-year old is entering the final year of his contract that will see him earn $6.3 million this season. He is worth every penny of it to the Panthers and they would undoubtedly like to sign him to an extension. However you have to wonder if Vokoun would be open to the idea as he no doubt would like to play for a contender at some point in his career. This could well become an unwanted distraction for Florida and if it appears that a deal is unlikely, than Vokoun may well be traded at some point before the deadline.

Anyone else buy into the notion that indeed...Vokoun's time in Florida may be coming to an end.

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Where are the Leafs?

3O Teams In 30 Days-#24 Toronto Make-Me-Laughs ;)

Toronto Maple Leafs

2009-10: 30-38-14 (15th in East, missed the playoffs)

General Manager: Brian Burke (3rd Season)

Head Coach: Ron Wilson (3rd Season)

What they did in the off-season:

After a lengthy, public search for a trading partner to take Tomas Kaberle, the Leafs hit the deadline when his no-trade clause once again came into effect, and Kaberle will remain in Toronto. Presuming they would trade Kaberle, the Leafs had earlier signed free agent Brett Lebda to add defensive depth and fill what they expected would be a vacancy on the blueline.

Their other key free agent signings were forwards Colby Armstrong and Clarke MacArthur. Armstrong should add grit and work effor while MacArthur can add some scoring punch to a very thin top six forward group. General Manager Brian Burke was able to add some offensive touch with fresh Stanley Cup experience, acquiring Kris Versteeg from the Blackhawks in return for Viktor Stalberg and prospects Chris DiDomenico and Phillippe Paradis.

The team rounded out their summer by bringing in Matt Lashoff in a trade with the Lightning for defensive depth and re-signing Christain Hanson.

Biggest issue facing the team:

The Maple Leafs finished the 2009-10 season averaging 2.56 goals for, which tied them for 25th overall in the league. This team quite simply needs another another top-six forward to boost its scoring.

At a dismal 14 percent success rate, the Leafs' power play cannot get any worse than it was last season. A full season with 30-goal scorer Phil Kessel and the addition of Versteeg (20 goals last year), MacArthur (16 goals last year) and Armstrong (15 goals last year) should help the Leafs light the lamp a little more frequently. The team still lacks a legitimate No. 1 centre as Tyler Bozak enters camp as the top man after a solid rookie campaign.

Player to watch:

The recent appointment of Dion Phaneuf as captain indicates that this is indeed Phaneuf's team - even though this will be his first full season in Toronto. He will be asked to nurture the young players and teach with his physical play, but his most important task may be to change the culture on and off the ice. While there had been plenty of whispers out of Calgary that Phaneuf may not have been the ideal teammate, he has received rave reviews from both the coaching staff and fellow Leafs since arriving in Toronto. He has been saying all the right things in the press, now is the time for him to lead by example on the ice and put together another season similar to his first three seasons in the league as opposed to his last two.

While he's not the Norris Trophy nominee he was two years ago, he is certainly capable of more at the offensive end than the 12 goals he scored last season. He is a good bet for a bounceback season despite all the extra pressure associated with wearing the 'C' in a hockey-mad market.

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30 Teams In 30 Days-#23 Carolina Hurricanes.

Carolina Hurricanes

2009-10: 35-37-10 (11th in East, missed the playoffs)

General Manager: Jim Rutherford (13th Season)

Head Coach: Paul Maurice (3rd Season)

What they did in the off-season:

One Staal was apparently not enough for the Canes as they acquired the youngest of the clan - Jared from the Coyotes. The team also drafted Jeff Skinner seventh overall and completed a pair of draft day deals to bring in former first-round picks Bobby Sanguinetti and Riley Nash from the Oilers and Rangers, respectively. Anton Babchuk returned from a one-year sojourn in the KHL while Joe Corvo, who the Canes dealt at the trade deadline, returned as a free agent.

Perhaps the most significant moves of the off-season were the retirement of long-time captain Rod Brind'Amour and the departure of veteran winger Ray Whitney - signifying that the youth movement is in full swing in Carolina.

Biggest issue facing the team:

Carolina submarined their season with a disastrous first two months that saw them go 5-17-5. While significant, long term injuries to the likes of Eric Staal and Cam Ward played their role, it seemed unfathomable that this was the same team that reached the Eastern Conference Final the year before.

The departure of several veterans means that this could be a very young and potentially (mentally) fragile team that might not know how to pull themselves out of an early season slump.

The Hurricanes also have to hope that Ward returns to his former Conn Smythe Trophy-winning form, as he never really seemed to establish a comfort level in net after battling leg and upper-body injuries that cost him 31 games. A healthy and focused Ward would go a long way in returning the Hurricanes to the post-season.

Player to watch:

As difficult as it is to feel sorry for a multi-millionaire professional athlete, it is easy to feel some sympathy for poor Erik Cole. After rising to prominence as the 'C' in the Canes' BBC Line during their 2002 Stanley Cup run that came up just short, every possible calamity seems to have be-fallen the power forward.

During the subsequent years, Cole has broken his leg, hyper extended his elbow, pulled his hamstring, injured his arm, foot and hip multiple times, broke vertebrae in his back suffered an additional cervical injury and missed 31 games this past season with what was believed to be a concussion. The fact that he has yet to contract the black plague is a minor miracle. Cole is in the final year of his contract that will see him earn $3 million this season. Offensive numbers are almost secondary at this point, we would just like to see him stay healthy as he can be a very valuable offensive weapon thanks to his hulking frame and willingness to put his body in harm's way. If he is able to remain out of the infirmary and find himself on a line with Eric Staal then a career year is not outside the realm of possibility. The first step is staying healthy, something Cole has never been able to do.

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As difficult as it is to feel sorry for a multi-millionaire professional athlete, it is easy to feel some sympathy for poor Erik Cole. After rising to prominence as the 'C' in the Canes' BBC Line during their 2002 Stanley Cup run that came up just short, every possible calamity seems to have be-fallen the power forward.

During the subsequent years, Cole has broken his leg, hyper extended his elbow, pulled his hamstring, injured his arm, foot and hip multiple times, broke vertebrae in his back suffered an additional cervical injury and missed 31 games this past season with what was believed to be a concussion. The fact that he has yet to contract the black plague is a minor miracle. Cole is in the final year of his contract that will see him earn $3 million this season.

WOW...never realize just the extent of what Eric has gone through since THE CUP WIN...always have great admiration for him....he seems like a great guy/leader that just could not get a break.

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30 Teams In 30 Days-#22 Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames

2009-10: 40-32-10 (10th in West, missed the playoffs)

General Manager: Darryl Sutter (6th Season)

Head Coach:rent Sutter (2nd Season)

What they did in the off-season:

Calgary did make a splash this off-season, however it was not one that many fans expected. The team shocked the hockey world by choosing to fill its need for more offense by acquiring familiar faces, Alex Tanguay and Oli Jokinen. Tanguay comes back to Calgary after an unproductive season in Tampa, and Jokinen will try to regain the offensive prowess he had in Florida between 2006 and 2008 after a mediocre stint shared between the Flames and Rangers last season. To compliment that skill and speed, Calgary enhanced its physical edge by adding enforcer, Tim Jackman, who lead the Islanders in penalty minutes in the past two seasons. The addition of Raitis Ivanans from the Kings will further provide muscle. The Flames lost forwards Christopher Higgins, David Van Der Gulik, Jamal Mayers, and the very reliable Eric Nystrom, who was durable enough to play every game for Calgary last year. The Flame also sent Jason Jaffray to Anaheim in exchange for young forward Logan MacMillan and picked up a potential backup goalie in Swede Henrik Karlsson.

Biggest issue facing the team:

The Flames are thin at forward and must rely on a few players to have the very best season of their careers if they are to have success. Outside of Iginla, Calgary is in real need of legitimate scorers, and so the team must gamble on bounce-back performances from the two returning veterans, Tanguay and Jokinen. General manager Darryl Sutter will be under immese pressure this season as most fans were incredulous to the re-signing of Jokinen who flamed out so spectacularly in Calgary despite every opportunity to succeed. Although the team failed to make the playoffs, they are right up against the salary cap after some questionable personnel decisions. If neither Tanguay nor Jokinen are capable of returning to their former levels of greatness then Calgary could be a very uncomfortable place for anyone with the surname Sutter.

Player to watch:

While the Flames are quite strong on the blue line, the team will require a better season from $6.7 million defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, who tallied just three goals and 29 points, his lowest totals in five years and a huge drop from his stats line of 15-27-42 for Florida during the 2008-09 season. Turning 27 before the season starts, Bouwmeester should be in the prime of his career, looking more like the high-scoring, reliable defenceman Calgary was seeking when they signed him before last season

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30 Teams In 30 Days-#22 Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames

2009-10: 40-32-10 (10th in West, missed the playoffs)

General Manager: Darryl Sutter (6th Season)

Head Coach:rent Sutter (2nd Season)

What they did in the off-season:

Calgary did make a splash this off-season, however it was not one that many fans expected. The team shocked the hockey world by choosing to fill its need for more offense by acquiring familiar faces, Alex Tanguay and Oli Jokinen. Tanguay comes back to Calgary after an unproductive season in Tampa, and Jokinen will try to regain the offensive prowess he had in Florida between 2006 and 2008 after a mediocre stint shared between the Flames and Rangers last season. To compliment that skill and speed, Calgary enhanced its physical edge by adding enforcer, Tim Jackman, who lead the Islanders in penalty minutes in the past two seasons. The addition of Raitis Ivanans from the Kings will further provide muscle. The Flames lost forwards Christopher Higgins, David Van Der Gulik, Jamal Mayers, and the very reliable Eric Nystrom, who was durable enough to play every game for Calgary last year. The Flame also sent Jason Jaffray to Anaheim in exchange for young forward Logan MacMillan and picked up a potential backup goalie in Swede Henrik Karlsson.

Biggest issue facing the team:

The Flames are thin at forward and must rely on a few players to have the very best season of their careers if they are to have success. Outside of Iginla, Calgary is in real need of legitimate scorers, and so the team must gamble on bounce-back performances from the two returning veterans, Tanguay and Jokinen. General manager Darryl Sutter will be under immese pressure this season as most fans were incredulous to the re-signing of Jokinen who flamed out so spectacularly in Calgary despite every opportunity to succeed. Although the team failed to make the playoffs, they are right up against the salary cap after some questionable personnel decisions. If neither Tanguay nor Jokinen are capable of returning to their former levels of greatness then Calgary could be a very uncomfortable place for anyone with the surname Sutter.

Player to watch:

While the Flames are quite strong on the blue line, the team will require a better season from $6.7 million defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, who tallied just three goals and 29 points, his lowest totals in five years and a huge drop from his stats line of 15-27-42 for Florida during the 2008-09 season. Turning 27 before the season starts, Bouwmeester should be in the prime of his career, looking more like the high-scoring, reliable defenceman Calgary was seeking when they signed him before last season

Who's their coach again??? :lol: ^^^ Great job TSN

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30 Teams In 30 Days-#21 Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars

2009-10: 37-31-14 (12th in West, missed the playoffs)

General Manager: Joe Nieuwendyk (2nd Season)

Head Coach: Marc Crawford (2nd Season)

What they did in the off-season:

A major changing of the guard took place in Dallas this summer, as Stars icons Mike Modano and Marty Turco left town through free agency, Modano destined for Detroit and Turco landing in Chicago. Rarely has a team let two more recognizable franchise mainstays walk away at the same time. Modano hasn't been the same dynamic offensive player for several years, and the writing was on the wall for Turco last season when the club signed Kari Lehtonen, a new direction for the goaltender position. Joe Nieuwendyk didn't have a lot of money to make many moves this summer and it showed as no major pieces were brought in to help bolster a team that finished a disappointing 12th in the Western Conference last year. The Stars will gamble on developing young players and draft picks as they try to avoid a third straight year without a playoff appearanc. Nieuwendyk was able to add some needed grit by signing ex-Blackhawks forward Adam Burish and get some insurance for Lehtonen by acquiring backup goalie Andrew Raycroft. In a low cost/low risk move, the Stars also invited former Rocket Richard trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo to training camp on a tryout basis.

Biggest issue facing the team:

The Stars most immediate goal is to get sniper James Neal under contract and in training camp as both sides continue to play a game of contract chicken. Assuming that deal gets done then the Stars brass still has some work to do in other departments. To make matters worse, the Stars have yet to come to terms on a new deal with promising young defenceman Matt Niskanen, There is reportedly plenty of work to do with both players as the sides remain far apart with training camp looming.

Besides missing two of their top young players, the Stars are also noticeably shallow in the veteran department as well. With the losses of veteran leaders Modano,Turco and the likely retirement of Jere Lehtinen, the question now for the team is who steps in as the leader and the face of the franchise? Brenden Morrow, who is battling to get back to the player he was in 2008? Brad Richards, who finished 7th in the league in scoring last season?

Regardless of who leads the way, this team must dramatically trim its goals against if it wants to win more games this season. Dallas has allowed way too many goals over the past two seasons: 254 last season and 257 the year before. And that was in two different systems under two different coaches; first Dave Tippett and then Marc Crawford. Further, the club's penalty killing unit ranked 27th in the NHL, so Crawford plans to introduce some significant changes to tactics and structure on defense, and he's betting on improved goaltending than the Stars had in the last 20 games of the ‘09-10 season.

Crawford arrived in Dallas last season and installed a new up-tempo, aggressive offensive system that seemed to suit the Star's talented forwards well, but addressing the defensive struggles is paramount.

Player to watch:

Stars' captain Brenden Morrow was perfectly positioned to become one of the NHL's premiere two-way talents after his stellar playoff performance of 2008, but a torn ACL and a mediocre return have limited his effectiveness in the last two seasons. Remember when he tried to fight Alex Burrows on one leg in the 2007 playoffs? Or when he put the Stars on his back in 2008 and pushed them through Anaheim and San Jose en route to the Western Conference finals? Morrow simply wasn't that same player last season, and perhaps that was largely due to having major knee surgery, or to the distraction of playing for Canada at the Olympics. Or perhaps he wasn't adjusting well to Crawford's new offensive system. Morrow got off to a quick start with 10 points in the first nine games, but late he and linemate Mike Ribeiro were moved to the second line' behind James Neal-Brad Richards-Loui Eriksson. Morrow and Ribeiro will have to see if they can fit better into this high energy system and find a new right winger who fits along with them. Morrow is integral to the Stars' hopes for the 2010-11 season.

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I think Dallas will probably do well most of the season but even if they are in the hunt they will try and unload Richards and could probably get a decent roster player and a couple high picks for him. Same goes with Daley, Skrastins, Lukowich, Ribiero, Brunnstrom etc. if they can get some picks and young talent they should be back to contending in a year or two once Avery's re-entry waivers comes off and Neal, Benn, Glennie, Campbell etc. develop.

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30 Teams In 30 Days-#20 Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning

2009-10: 34-36-12 (12th in East, missed the playoffs)

General Manager: Steve Yzerman (1st Season)

Head Coach: Guy Boucher (1st Season)

What they did in the off-season:

It was a massive rebuilding off-season in Tampa Bay. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik fired general manager Brian Lawton and head coach Rick Tocchet the day after the season ended in April and wasn't long in landing the most sought-after candidate in the management pool, hockey legend Steve Yzerman, to be his new GM. Yzerman hired a new staff: head coach Guy Boucher, of the Hamilton Bulldogs (who brought his AHL coaching staff with him), Julien Brisebois from the Canadiens as the new assistant GM, Pat Verbeek as head of pro scouting and Al Murray from Hockey Canada to run amateur scouting. Steve Thomas was also added to the front office staff as a player consultant.

Yzerman reeled in some key talent in his first months on the job. He traded Matt Walker and a fourth round pick to the Flyers for Simon Gagne, one of the biggest deals of the NHL's off-season. He signed Pavel Kubina for a return engagement in Tampa. He addressed depth in needed areas: adding Dominic Moore after the centre's solid season in Montreal, defenders Brett Clark and Randy Jones and backup netminder Dan Ellis. He traded away under-performing defenceman Andrej Meszaros to the Flyers for a second round pick. Yzerman re-signed two key players on the Bolts' roster: right wing Steve Downie got a new two-year contract, and Martin St. Louis was convinced to extended his.

Biggest issue facing the team:

With lots of new faces and a steady rebuilding process underway, a seamless transition may be a challenge for Boucher in his first season as an NHL coach. Boucher is a bit of an enigma given his rapid rise to the NHL; his first head-coaching job was just four years ago in the Quebec League. With any roster overhaul, there are bound to be some bumpy moments. It may be a challenge for Boucher to keep all of the Bolts talented players happy at all times. That being said, if all the new pieces can be pulled together well, the outlook in Tampa is very sunny.

Player to watch:

Just four seasons ago, Vincent Lecavalier was the NHL's top goal-scorer, yet he found the back of the net only 24 times in 2009-10 and averaged less than a point per game for a second consecutive season. Lecavalier underwent a minor arthroscopic procedure in August after suffering a left knee injury in a summer practice. With a new regime and more talent skating with him in Tampa, the Lightning need their all-time leading scorer, the top overall draft pick in 1998 who is now 30, to once regain his old form. Otherwise the never ending “Lecavalier to the Habs” rumours may pop up again.

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Surprised theyd have Tampa this low, 10th in the East. Lecavalier, Malone, St Louis, Gagne and Stamkos should all be able to put up at least 25 goals each barring injuries (with Stamkos above 40) and their two trades with Philadelphia were masterful both short and long term since they will free up a ton of cap space the next couple years and they got the best player (Gagne) as well as a 2nd round pick for Meszaros, Walker (who both werent very good in Tampa and had 3 years left on their contracts) and a 4th pick. I dont see them going very high but their division is still not very good and Tampa benefits from playing Florida and Atlanta 12 times. 6th place in the East isnt out of the question.

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