With NHL training camps opening this week, here’s a look at one player on each NHL club worth keeping an eye on over the course of the upcoming season.
John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks. Touted as the future franchise goalie, that future has finally arrived. Gibson gets his chance to compete for the starter’s job with Frederik Andersen.
Mikkel Boedker, Arizona Coyotes. Boedker made significant improvement last season with a 51-point performance. Only 24 and entering his seventh NHL season. Boedker could be on the cusp of stardom.
Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins. Injuries limited his effectiveness last season. Eriksson will attempt to rebound as he’s moved up to first-line right wing, replacing the departed Jarome Iginla.
Tyler Myers, Buffalo Sabres. Myers has been in decline since his Calder Trophy performance in 2009-10. Only 24, he’s facing a crucial season with the rebuilding Sabres.
Jonas Hiller, Calgary Flames. After cutting ties with the Anaheim Ducks, Hiller hopes to re-establish himself as an NHL starter with the rebuilding Flames.
Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes. The long-time Hurricanes starting goalie was hobbled by injury and faces a stiff challenge from Anton Khubodin. This could be his final season in Carolina.
Brad Richards, Chicago Blackhawks. Bought out by the Rangers, Richards joined the Blackhawks on a one-year, $2 million deal. He’ll try to rejuvenate his career as their second-line center.
Jarome Iginla, Colorado Avalanche. The Avs signed him to a three-year deal to add leadership and experience. It remains to be seen if the 37-year-old Iginla has another 30-goal season left in him.
Nathan Horton, Columbus Blue Jackets. Will the oft-injured Horton finally enjoy a healthy season? If he can, the winger should be a strong offensive threat.
Jason Spezza, Dallas Stars. After years centering the Ottawa Senators’ first line, Spezza becomes the Stars’ second-line center. He should substantially bolster their scoring.
Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings. Hampered by a back injury last season, the Red Wings hope their captain returns to good health and his stellar two-way form.
Nail Yakupov, Edmonton Oilers. Yakupov struggled through injury and a sophomore slump last season. The 2012 first-overall pick faces considerable pressure this season to prove himself as a legitimate scoring star.
Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers. The 2014 first-overall pick believes he can make the Panthers lineup this season. He has the confidence, but does he have the talent to back it up?
Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings. He tumbled down the depth chart and wound up the Kings’ fourth-line center. Richards faces pressure to improve his conditioning and return to his previous form.
Thomas Vanek, Minnesota Wild. As expected, he signed with the Wild as a free agent. He got his wish, now the Wild need him to improve an offense which finished in the bottom third of the league last year.
Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens. Galchenyuk was hampered by injury last season. If he stays healthy, the promising 20-year-old forward could become a breakout star for the Canadiens.
James Neal, Nashville Predators. Dealt to the Predators in June, Neal won’t have superstar linemates to set him up as he did in Pittsburgh. He’ll have to prove his offensive skills travel well.
Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils. No more Martin Brodeur lurking over Schneider’s shoulder this season. He now has the chance to establish himself among the league’s elite starting goalies.
Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders. The Islanders brought in Halak to stabilize their goaltending. Their playoff hopes rest upon his performance this season.
Marc Staal, New York Rangers. He’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. Staal’s contract talks could drag out through the season like Dan Girardi’s and Ryan Callahan’s did last year.
Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators. Ryan is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. It remains to be seen if the Senators can afford to re-sign him, let alone if he wants to stay.
Vincent Lecavalier, Philadelphia Flyers. Last season Lecavalier had his worst performance in over a decade. Can he rebound into a reliable second-line center again?
Patric Hornqvist, Pittsburgh Penguins. Swapped for James Neal during the 2014 NHL draft, Hornqvist will play alongside either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. He should see a significant increase in his production.
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks. He’s facing criticism over his leadership as trade rumors swirled about him over the summer. This could become his final season with the Sharks.
Paul Stastny, St. Louis Blues. The Blues signed Stastny to become their first-line playmaking center. If he delivers as hoped, the Blues could finally become legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.
Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s determined to make the lineup after being sent back to junior last season. If Drouin succeeds, he could become Steven Stamkos’ new set-up man.
David Clarkson, Toronto Maple Leafs. His first season with the Leafs was a disaster. Given Clarkson’s ridiculous contract, he must significantly improve in order to justify his salary.
Ryan Miller, Vancouver Canucks: Miller’s stock since winning the Vezina in 2010 has declined. The Canucks are gambling that he can regain that form.
Mike Green, Washington Capitals. Given the Capitals additions of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, it remains to be seen if Green still has a future in Washington.
Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets. Often blamed as the Jets’ Achilles heel. Pavelec must finally silence his critics and prove himself as a reliable NHL starting goalie.
Agree? Disagree? Think someone else should be on this list? Feel free to make your opinion known below in the comments section.