TOP STORY: It was a controversial back-to-the-future remake in Calgary this off-season, with two former Flames - Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay - both returning to the team that traded them away, hoping to jump-start stalled careers. Ideally, the Flames want Jokinen and Tanguay to form two-thirds of a top line alongside Jarome Iginla, who had one of the poorest offensive years of his career, the primary reason for the team's 50-goal year-over-year drop-off in scoring. The Flames badly need Jokinen and Tanguay to get back in that point-per-game range; and they could use a healthy Daymond Langkow, who is making a slow recovery from last year's neck issue. Youngster Mikael Backlund will be closely monitored in training camp to see if he's ready for NHL prime time.
SAY HELLO TO: C Olli Jokinen, LW Alex Tanguay, G Henrik Karlsson, RW Tim Jackman, LW Raitis Ivanans, C Ryan Stone.
SAY GOODBYE TO: LW Eric Nystrom, LW Chris Higgins, LW Nigel Dawes, G Vesa Toskala.
NUMBERS GAME: The Flames go into camp $1.85-million over the salary cap, but have a number of options to get compliant by opening night. if Langkow is obliged to go on the long-term injury reserve, that move alone will erase the excess. The Flames have eight defencemen on one-way contracts; if all remain healthy, presumably one will be either traded or waived. Also: Ales Kotalik could end up in the minors or Europe; if he doesn't stick, that would save another $3-million.
TOP PICK IN 2010: Maxwell Reinhart, selected 64th overall. Reinhart is the son of former Flames defenceman Paul Reinhart, one of the original players who made the move from Atlanta back in 1980. Unlike his father, who was a puck-moving defenceman, Reinhart is a scoring centre, who had a decent first year with Kelowna in the WHL (51 points in 72 games), but needs to fill out before ever challenging for NHL duty. He is years away from that point.
TOP STORY: Where to begin? The No. 1 goaltender (Nikolai Khabibulin) has appealed his drunk-driving sentence and may yet spend time in an Arizona jail. The star defenceman (Sheldon Souray) still wants to be traded, the sooner, the better. The old head coach (Pat Quinn) remains with the organization to help the new head coach (Tom Renney) handle a youthful lineup. Plus, the star forward (Ales Hemsky) makes a comeback with a freshly repaired shoulder after playing just 22 games last season. Yes, there's an awful lot going on in Edmonton this September, and we haven't even mentioned the addition of the Oilers' franchise player in the making, Taylor Hall. This is a team selling itself on potential without knowing how much it can deliver in 2010-11. Changes are everywhere. Did we mention the Oilers will have a new captain this season (replacing Ethan Moreau) and that even the radio play-by-play man (Jack Michaels) is new? He'll have plenty to talk about all winter. So will the fans.
SAY HELLO TO: LW Taylor Hall, RW Jordan Eberle, LW Magnus Paajarvi, C Colin Fraser, G Martin Gerber
SAY GOODBYE TO: LW Ethan Moreau, C Patrick O'Sullivan, C Robert Nilsson, RW Fernando Pisani, C Mike Comrie (all five combined for just 48 goals last season)
NUMBERS GAME: The Oilers have cap space aplenty, $9.768-million U.S. to be precise. That allows them the freedom to take on more salary come the NHL trade deadline, assuming Edmonton is close enough to qualify for the postseason.
TOP PICK IN 2010: When the Oilers' selected Hall over Tyler Seguin with the first pick overall, it was an indication they wanted a player with size as much as skill. Last season's team was too small and too easily manhandled. Hall, a two-time Memorial Cup champion and tournament MVP, could develop into a dynamic force coming off the left wing. He's also played at two international tournaments, including the 2010 world juniors, with Eberle. They'll be linemates through training camp before the coaching staff decides what to do next.
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