The 2013-14 NHL season opens Oct. 1. Here are 10 players fans should keep an eye on:
A Senator since 1995, and captain since 1999, it's hard to imagine the 40-year-old in anything but red and black. But a contract couldn't get done and the classy right-winger shocked Ottawa by signing a one-year deal with Detroit. The Red Wings are now in Ottawa's division, making Dec. 1 an interesting date at the Canadian Tire Centre.
He was no longer the franchise goalie, he sold his home, he was openly on the trade market for a year, but the Canucks' favourite whipping boy hasn't gone anywhere. Instead, Cory Schneider got traded. And the 34-year-old Luongo is committed to playing out the final nine years of a 12-year contract.
This summer there were no run-ins with cab drivers or embarrassing Internet photos. Instead, all the news was about how fit and grown up the gifted winger has become. It is beginning to look like the 24-year-old may be ready for a special campaign, after hinting at it with 55 points in 47 games last season.
Apparently, all is forgiven after the longtime Calgary Flames captain spurned the Bruins to go to Pittsburgh at the trade deadline. After Boston swept the Penguins in the playoffs, the 36-year-old signed a one-year deal to play in Beantown, where his grit and quick shot could be deadly with David Krejci feeding him from centre.
It's a fresh start for the 2010 second-overall draft pick after being deemed an immature underachiever in Boston. Sent to Dallas, the 21-year-old has a chance to show he is a serious player on and off the ice. Moving to his natural position at centre may do the trick.
The top pick in the 1998 draft won a Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay, but some felt he had lost his mojo in recent seasons. After being bought out, the 33-year-old gets to start over on a five-year contract in a city where the pressure is not to be a superstar, but just to win.
Eyebrows shot upwards when the 28-year-old told the Bruins he wasn't interested in a new contract. Instead, he left a contender to ink a seven-year deal with the lowly Jackets. He's had concussion woes in recent years and his production has dipped, but now he has to show he still wants to compete.
General manager Lou Lamoriello stunned the draft floor in Newark when, instead of picking ninth overall before home fans, he dealt his first selection to Vancouver — not for Luongo, but for Cory Schneider. The newcomer's job now is simple — share the net with legend Martin Brodeur. No pressure there.
He took some time, thought it over and came up with the same decision he always makes — to play another season. The 43-year-old's 23rd NHL campaign should be his last. He scored 12 times in 46 games last season. He needs 25 more to reach 700.
He was brilliant while winning the Norris Trophy with a 78-point campaign in 2011-12, but was denied a chance to repeat when his Achilles tendon was severed by a skate early last season. Instead, the Norris went to Montreal's P.K. Subban, setting up what could be a fine battle for the award between two of the league's flashiest young defencemen.
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