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Time for an offseason review of League's 30 teams

Sunday, 08.01.2010 / 12:00 AM / 30 in 30

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Time for an offseason review of League's 30 teams
NHL.com gives you the scoop on every team heading into the upcoming season, starting with Anaheim and ending with Washington.
With the Windy City celebrating its first Stanley Cup championship in 49 years, its hockey team and so much else around the NHL has changed this summer.

NHL.com is here to give you a review of what has already happened since Patrick Kane's hard-angled wrist shot slid through Michael Leighton's pads and into the net, unbeknownst to the official operating the goal light, in Philadelphia on June 9, 2010.

Our annual 30 in 30 package will guide you through the dog days of summer, taking you from Monday all the way through the end of August. Every day this month, NHL.com will give you analytical, snapshot looks at each of the League's 30 teams as they plow through the midpoint of the offseason and approach training camps, which open in the middle of September.

We'll open with Anaheim on Monday and finish with Washington on Aug. 31.

All the key storylines will be touched upon. Every transaction, big and small, that affects the NHL club will be broken down.

The stories will consist of an introduction that traces back to what happened last season and what we've come to expect from the club, two sections on the roster changes made since the 2009-10 season was put to bed, and finally an outlook of what's in store for the upcoming season.

The topics are quite vast.

We'll break down what the Blackhawks' roster looks like after a summer of dealing with their inevitable salary cap issues. Gone are names that are now engrained in Chicago sports lore such as Antti Niemi, Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg and Andrew Ladd.

The Hawks have spent the summer stripping away at their championship roster to make sure the players who remain fit under the $59.4 million salary cap. GM Stan Bowman has had to let Niemi walk into unrestricted free agency, trade away six players and watch Adam Burish leave for Dallas. He's not going to re-sign John Madden either.

The saga of Ilya Kovalchuk has kept us on our toes all summer long.

The player considered the best to become an unrestricted free agent in the post-work stoppage era signed a massive 17-year contract with New Jersey -- and then it was rejected by the League on the grounds it circumvented the CBA. Kovalchuk's status will soon be determined by an independent and mutually agreed upon arbitrator, and he'll either get to play under that 17-year contract or become an unrestricted free agent again.

The Devils' segment of 30 in 30 runs on Aug. 19; the case should be resolved well before then.

Tampa Bay has undergone an extreme makeover, NHL style, with changes all over the place, top to bottom. Jeff Vinik is in as the owner, Tod Leiweke as the CEO, Steve Yzerman as the GM, Julian BriseBois as Assistant GM and Guy Boucher as coach with his own new staff, too. Martin St. Louis re-signed to a long-term contract, Simon Gagne has arrived via a trade, Pavel Kubina is returning via free agency, Dan Ellis is the new goalie and captain Vincent Lecavalier told NHL.com that he couldn't be happier.

The Capitals may not waltz to the Southeast Division title this season.

Several key defensemen have changed addresses since July 1, including Dan Hamhuis (Nashville to Vancouver), Paul Martin (New Jersey to Pittsburgh), Zbynek Michalek (Phoenix to Pittsburgh) and Anton Volchenkov (Ottawa to New Jersey).

Calgary shocked the hockey world by going retro. The Flames brought back Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay in the hopes the veterans will have better second stints in Calgary and team with Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester and Miikka Kiprusoff to get the team back in the playoffs.

The other team in Alberta is doing the opposite and going with youth, including No. 1 draft pick Taylor Hall, who is expected to make the team and join a roster of 20-something up-and-comers in the NHL. They think they have the right man for the job, too, as Tom Renney takes over for Pat Quinn.

The Oilers, in fact, are among five NHL teams with a new bench boss.

Craig Ramsay, who has over 40 years of experience in the League, takes over in Atlanta after spending three seasons as an assistant in Boston. Boucher (Tampa Bay), John MacLean (New Jersey) and Scott Arniel (Columbus) are coming in from the American Hockey League.

New Atlanta GM Rick Dudley appears to be trying to remake the Blackhawks down in Georgia. He has already acquired four players off Chicago's championship roster in his first summer on the job. Dudley, by the way, worked with the Hawks from 2004-09.

All of these stories and everything else imaginable will be covered over the next 30 days.

What dog days?










Quote of the Day

There's no discouragement in that room. There's no issues there at all to be honest with you. It's more about, 'Hey, it's opportunities for players.' And if we become that bad of a team because of one player, it's not a real good sign for our hockey club. So this is part of sports. It's part of hockey.

— Bruins coach Claude Julien on the loss of Zdeno Chara to injury
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