Out of these potential 2019 unrestricted free agents, who is likely to leave and who is likely to re-sign: Tyler Seguin, Artemi Panarin, Erik Karlsson, Max Pacioretty, Blake Wheeler, Matt Duchene, Joe Pavelski, Wayne Simmonds, Jake Gardiner, Tyler Myers? -- @TylerDonnellyTD
Tyler Seguin: The Dallas Stars will get him re-signed. The center fits in Dallas. He fits playing with Stars captain Jamie Benn. I view the Stars as a team on the rise with new coach Jim Montgomery. They have the NHL salary cap space. I'm surprised it hasn't gotten done already.
Artemi Panarin: I wrote a few weeks ago that the Columbus Blue Jackets should trade the forward before the season starts. He hasn't shown an interest in re-signing with the Blue Jackets, so it's incumbent on them to trade him when his value is high, which it is now.
Erik Karlsson: The defenseman will not re-sign with the Ottawa Senators unless there are massive changes. That doesn't mean he'll be traded soon. He could start the season with the Senators. More on why I think that is below in another answer.
Video: Chris Johnson gives latest update on Karlsson, Nash
Max Pacioretty: The Montreal Canadiens have already reportedly tried to trade the forward. He may want to stay, but it's not going to be up to him.
Blake Wheeler: Wheeler and Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff have a strong relationship. The forward is invested in the Jets and they will invest further in him.
Matt Duchene: The Senators should try to re-sign the center to justify trading for him; he can be a big piece for them as they try to rebuild. Duchene might have a different view, especially if Ottawa isn't going to be ready to compete for the Stanley Cup soon. He also probably would want the decision on Karlsson to come first.
Joe Pavelski: The forward will stay with the San Jose Sharks unless they undertake a rebuilding plan similar to what the New York Rangers are going through. The Sharks would have to struggle this season for that to happen. I don't think they will.
Wayne Simmonds: I think the Philadelphia Flyers will want to keep him, but the forward needs to have a healthy, productive start to the season. He may lose some production, especially on the power play, because of James van Riemsdyk's presence. He needs to stay healthy too.
Jake Gardiner: Gardiner is a top-four defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The development of fellow left-handed defensemen Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman could impact his future. The Maple Leafs also must re-sign forwards William Nylander and Auston Matthews. The salary cap could get in the way of re-signing Gardiner.
Tyler Myers: The defenseman is probably fourth or fifth on the Jets' to-do list among potential free agents. There's Wheeler and forward Patrik Laine along with forward Kyle Connor (restricted) and defenseman Jacob Trouba (restricted).
What are the chances the Colorado Avalanche will end up with Jack Hughes, a.k.a. the No. 1 pick? -- @bloodfury_96
This is more a question about the Senators than it is about the Avalanche. Colorado is owed Ottawa's first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft because of the trade that sent Duchene to the Senators on Nov. 5, 2017. The first-round pick that went from Ottawa to Colorado was conditional, meaning it could be for 2018 or 2019. The Senators kept it this year and selected forward Brady Tkachuk at No. 4. Now the Senators must give the Avalanche their first-round pick next year. It would be the No. 1 pick if Ottawa misses the playoffs and wins the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery. That's enough incentive and motivation for the Senators to do everything they can this season to make the playoffs. Short of that -- and I think they will be short of that -- they need to be good enough so their odds of winning the lottery are miniscule. Tkachuk might be a terrific player, but it would be a terrible end to what would be a terrible season if the Senators miss the playoffs and win the lottery only to have to give the No. 1 pick to the Avalanche.
Video: 31 in 31: Ottawa Senators 2018-19 season preview
Ottawa can't let that happen, which I think is a big reason we might not see Karlsson traded before the season. The Senators might feel they need him and can hold off on a trade. It's the same with Duchene and forward Mark Stone, who each can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Do you see anyone on the New York Islanders roster (at any position) exceeding expectations? -- @johnfiorino97
Forward Joshua Ho-Sang will enter training camp with moderate to low expectations placed on him by coach Barry Trotz and general manager Lou Lamoriello. They didn't draft Ho-Sang and haven't been part of his development. They're unsure what they have in the 22-year-old, who is skilled, with great vision and hands, but hasn't come close to putting it all together in the NHL. He has 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 43 games over the past two seasons. But Ho-Sang has enough in his skill set to be a top-six forward and it wouldn't shock me if Ho-Sang delivers in a big way this season, but it's on him to find his way. There won't be any handholding from Trotz and Lamoriello.
Video: PHI@NYI: Ho-Sang deflects shot past Elliott
The Islanders also should have an improved defensive system (they barely had a defensive system last season) under Trotz. That could help Adam Pelech become a defenseman who can play 24 minutes per game in a shutdown role. I can see him becoming what Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic once was for the Islanders.
Do you see the Nashville Predators adding a piece at forward, like Wayne Simmonds, during the season? -- @bwiz77
Simmonds is going to be tough to get because the Flyers will be a contender and, if he's healthy, he'll be a contributor. It would be difficult to pry him out of Philadelphia even if he is unsigned beyond this season. It's the same as the Maple Leafs holding onto van Riemsdyk last season even though he was a pending UFA. Before we think about who the Predators will add, if anybody, we have to see what kind of impact rookie forward Eeli Tolvanen will make. Tolvanen could be the answer to your question and he's already with Nashville.
Do you think the odds are high that Ilya Kovalchuk will be the Kings' best winger this season? -- @MHulicius
Yes, and he'd better be because they're paying him to be their best winger.
Kovalchuk's NHL salary cap charge is $6.25 million. The only Kings with a higher cap charge this season are center Anze Kopitar ($10 million) and defenseman Drew Doughty ($7 million). Kovalchuk will likely play with Kopitar, which means he will be positioned to score a lot. If that doesn't work out, he'll play with center Jeff Carter. Either way, he's going to play with a top center. Kovalchuk will be on the first power-play unit, likely in the one-timer position, with Kopitar and Doughty feeding him pucks. He may even get some penalty-kill minutes like he did in his last two seasons with the New Jersey Devils, when he scored seven shorthanded goals.
Video: Stevens on acquiring Kovalchuk, working with Blake
With the uncertainty of Henrik Zetterberg this season, does this put the Detroit Red Wings in a better position to see what guys like Michael Rasmussen and Evgeny Svechnikov can offer? Or does it weigh heavier as a whole losing your captain? -- @xxHouse82xx
Both. It would be a tough loss for the Red Wings if Zetterberg can't play because of his back issues. He would be an effective player and a role model for the younger players. The forward had 56 points (11 goals, 45 assists) last season. He's not done unless his back is telling him he is.
Zetterberg or no Zetterberg, this season in Detroit is about the development of young players. Forwards Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Andreas Athanasiou -- each 24 or younger -- have some developing left. Larkin would have to take on a bigger role as a leader if Zetterberg wasn't around. He's 22 but has played three seasons and 242 NHL games. Forwards Filip Zadina, 18, Rasmussen, 19, and Svechnikov, 21, could make the team. Defensemen Joe Hicketts, 22, Dennis Cholowski, 20, and Filip Hronek, 20, will compete for spots.