For players, that means returning to their home cities and scraping away the offseason rust. For coaches, it's time to break out the playbook and start drawing up drills and line combinations.
For general managers, however, their work is never really done. There's always some tinkering of the roster, and player evaluation is a 365-day-per-year process. And just like most years, there remain players on the open market as training camps loom ever closer.
2011 NHL OFFSEASON NEWS
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Among the biggest names remaining among free-agent forwards are a pair of aging veterans who might have enough left in them to benefit some team thanks to their experience and talent.
J-P Dumont, who went through the buy-out process after a disappointing season with the Nashville Predators, is an unrestricted free agent. The right wing, 33, slumped to just 10 goals in 70 games in 2010-2011, a personal full-season low. However, Dumont has scored at least 20 goals five times, and after five seasons in Nashville, perhaps a change in scenery could rejuvenate him.
Two-time Stanley Cup champion Cory Stillman also is among the players looking for a job. The 37-year-old forward had 49 points last season. Twenty-one of them came in his final 16 games after returning to the Hurricanes at the trade deadline.
Another Stanley Cup-winning forward also remains available, but if 600-goal scorer Teemu Selanne chooses to play another season, it only will be with the Anaheim Ducks.
Among the available defensemen are Bryan McCabe, who in his long career has won a number of awards and honors, but the one escaping him is a Stanley Cup. He had just 6 points in 19 late-season games with the New York Rangers, but he still has the smarts and know-how to quarterback a power play -- 74 of his 145 career goals have come on the man-advantage.
Teams looking to fill a spot in net could turn their gaze to Ray Emery, who will attend Blackhawks training camp on a tryout deal. A medical marvel for overcoming a career-threatening hip injury, Emery returned to win 7 of 10 games for the Ducks last season, and started five of the Ducks' six playoff games. At 28, Emery is young enough to have a few more solid seasons, and he has extensive playoff experience, dating to when he backstopped the Ottawa Senators to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final.
While Emery dealt with a serious injury, the issues have been more of the nagging variety for 2001 first-round pick Pascal Leclaire, who has played more than 35 games in a season just once (2007-08). He appeared in 54 games and had by far his best season -- 24 wins, .919 save percentage and a 2.25 goals-against average. However, he's played just 60 games in three seasons since then due to an assortment of lower-body injuries. If Leclaire can stay healthy, there's little doubt he could help a team -- however, his health is a big if.
The 30 general managers know just who remains available, and, no doubt, have their scouts out searching and looking for anyone who could help fill out their team's roster.
Their work never is done.
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK