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Season Preview

30 in 15: Injuries could help Vatanen earn a roster spot

Sunday, 09.29.2013 / 3:00 AM / Season Preview

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

One man's injury is another man's opportunity.

For Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen, a rash of injuries to the team's defensemen has given him an opportunity to earn a full-time NHL roster spot.

Sheldon Souray is out until December or even January following surgery for a torn ligament in his wrist. Francois Beauchemin, while skating, is only four months removed from reconstructive knee surgery and is questionable to start the season, and Luca Sbisa is hoping to recover from a sprained ankle in time for the season opener Oct. 2 at the Colorado Avalanche.

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Caps trying to assemble bottom-six forward puzzle

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 1:10 PM / Season Preview

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON - Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates has taken to likening his roster to a "puzzle."

Extending that metaphor, while the Capitals' top-six forward group of Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, Mikhail Grabovski and Troy Brouwer seems to be firmly in place, the bottom six pieces remain scattered about.

Washington has eight players -- left wings Martin Erat, Jason Chimera and Aaron Volpatti; centers Mathieu Perreault and Jay Beagle; and right wings Eric Fehr, Joel Ward and Tom Wilson -- competing for six starting spots.

Days away from their Oct. 1 season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN), how those players fit into the Capitals' puzzle has yet to be determined.

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Wild count on youth, new system to build momentum

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 9:00 AM / Season Preview

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- After a four-year absence from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Minnesota Wild finally returned there last season.

Between trips to the postseason, a number of changes took place in Minnesota. One of the most stable franchises in the NHL saw ownership switch hands, a new look in the front office and a pair of coaching changes. That half-decade of building finally culminated in a return to the playoffs.

Now, the goal is to get back there.

General manager Chuck Fletcher started by building through the NHL Draft, a process which has finally started paying dividends. Last season, the first wave of the Wild's highly touted prospects arrived in the Twin Cities, and the continued development of players like Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin, Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund will go a long ways towards keeping the team in the playoff hunt this season and beyond.

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30 in 15: Heatley seeks bounce-back season for Wild

Tuesday, 09.24.2013 / 3:00 AM / Season Preview

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2013-14 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

When it comes to the 2012-13 season, nothing really went right for Minnesota Wild forward Dany Heatley.

The power wing was primed to have a big season after the Wild signed free agent Zach Parise to a 13-year contract. Instead, Heatley was held to 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) and missed the Wild's final 12 games of the regular season due to a season-ending shoulder injury.

His absence unquestionably played a role in the Wild’s inability to get past the Chicago Blackhawks in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as they dropped the Western Conference Quarterfinal in five games.

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Capitals' Green rejuvenated physically and mentally

Monday, 09.23.2013 / 10:13 AM / Season Preview

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- For all the impressive accolades Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green has accrued, his well-documented injury woes in recent seasons have served to overshadow them.

Between 2007 and 2010, Green was the NHL's most prolific offensive defenseman. His 68 goals in that span were the most among League defensemen, 23 more than the second-highest scorer. Along the way, he set a League record for the longest consecutive goal-scoring streak by a defenseman, earned two Norris Trophy nominations and became the only defenseman to score at least 30 goals in the 21st century, a feat yet to be replicated.

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Quote of the Day

A piece of scar tissue breaks off, pinches the nerve, and every time you move your leg it's almost like having a root canal in your stomach and groin.

— Detroit Red Wings center Stephen Weiss on his sports hernia surgery