Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The NHL's Biggest Question Marks: A Team-By-Team Look

With just over 70 days until the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins kick off the 2011-2012 NHL season, there are still some major question marks floating around the league. From rookies making opening night rosters, to voting for arena upgrades, every team has their own personal question marks awaiting answers. Of course some are more serious than others. Here is a team-by-team look at the major questions for each team as we head towards training camps and the start of next season.

Anaheim Ducks

  • Will Teemu Selanne return yet again for another season with the Ducks?
  • Will Ray Emery make a return to Anaheim?

Boston Bruins

  • Will goalie, Tim Thomas, have another stellar season and make a run at a second consecutive Vezina Trophy?
  • How will the Bruins favor in defending the Stanley Cup title?

Buffalo Sabres

  • How will the Sabres get under the salary cap limit?
  • Will Derek Roy rebound from an injury that sidelined him for the majority of last season?

Calgary Flames

  • With rumors surfacing every year about the possible trade of long time captain, Jarome Iginla, will this be the year the Flames part ways with their star forward?

Carolina Hurricanes

  • Will Jeff Skinner produce another outstanding season, or will he fall into that dreaded sophomore slump.

Chicago Blackhawks

  • How will Patrick Kane's wrist heal up?
  • Will the Blackhawks be able to challenge the Detroit RedWings for the Central Division title?

Colorado Avalanche

  • Will this be the year the Aves put together a winning season?

Columbus BlueJackets

  • Will Jeff Carter turn out to be the long awaited support for Rick Nash?
  • Will the Jackets goal tending prove to be their Achilles heel?

Dallas Stars

  • Who will step up and fill the gaping hole left by the departure of Brad Richards?

Detroit RedWings

  • Will this be Nicklas Lidstrom's last NHL season?
  • With the Red Wings being on the older side can they continue to be Cup contenders year in and year out?

Edmonton Oilers

  • Will Ryan Nugent-Hopkins jump right into NHL play like former first round picks, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle?
  • Have the Oilers replaced the offense that left with Dustin Penner?

Florida Panthers

  • With a slew of new players wearing Panthers jerseys next season, will they now be able to make the jump out of the league's basement?

Los Angeles Kings

  • Will Drew Doughty ever agree to terms on a new deal, if so how much will he get paid and how long will he be locked up?
  • With new offensive threats in Mike Richards and Simon Gagne, will the Kings make a run at the Western Conference title?

Minnesota Wild

  • Will we see some of the Wilds' young shootout stars in any of the NHL Regular Season's shootouts?

Montreal Canadiens

  • How big of a ripple affect with the addition of Erik Cole have on the Habs' lineup?

Nashvile Predators

  • What will happen with captain, Shea Weber, will the beard not be wearing a gold jersey next season?

New Jersey Devils

  • Will new coaching produce two winning halfs, or will the Devils only show up for half a season again?
  • Will Adam Larsson, the number four overall pick in last years draft be apart of the opening night roster?
  • Will the Devils' faithful see Zach Parise in a Devils jersey for one more season?

New York Islanders

  • Will the Isles get enough votes in order to approve a series of upgrades to Nassau Collesium?
  • What will become of the Alexei Yashin talks, will he return for a second tenure on the island? 

New York Rangers

  • With the addition of Brad Richards, will the Blue Shirts become a Cup contender?
  • Will the Rangers' defense prove to be their downfall?

Ottawa Senators

  • Will the All Star Game festivities be the only highlight of the season out in Ottawa?

Philadelphia Flyers

  • Will an overhauled roster click in time to make a run for the cup?
  • With Mike Richards being traded, who will wear the "C" next season?

Phoenix Coyotes

  • Will the Coyotes produce another season good enough to win them a longer stay in the desert?
  • Who is going to carry the load in net now that Ilya Bryzgalov is gone?

Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Will star players, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, be in healthy enough condition to play come time to start next season?
  • How will Pittsburgh's fans welcome Jaromir Jagr and Maxim Talbot after being snubbed by both for their instate rival Flyers?

San Jose Sharks

  • Did the Sharks make the right defensive moves to continue to compete for the Pacific Division title?

St. Louis Blues

  • With the additions of veterans, Kent Huskins, Jamie Lagenbrunner, and Jason Arnott have the Blues got enough grit and leadership to make jump into the post season with an extremely youthful team?
  • Can Jaroslav Halak anchor the team between the pipes?

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Can Dwayne Roloson anchor the Lightning in net and help the Lightning give the Washington Capitals a run for the Southeast Division?

Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Can Tim Connolly break out of his injury funk and be a number one center, and become an offensive weapon just a shot drive from his former team in Buffalo?

Vancouver Canucks

  • After a fairly quiet off season and having a roster very similar to last season's, can the Canucks finish out the season and win the Cup next year?

Washington Capitals

  • With the addition of Tomas Vokoun, have the Caps finally found the goaltending needed to make a run at the Cup?

Winnipeg Jets

  • What jersey will the new, revamped Jets logos be placed on?
  • With a completely new organization and front office, how will the Jets fair in the first season back in the NHL?
If I missed any and I'm positive I did, sound off in the comments below.

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