Team-by-team capsules for the Western Conference, listed in 2009-10 season order of finish:
LAST SEASON: 52-22-2-6, 112 points. Beat Philadelphia 4-2 to win Stanley Cup.
COACH: Joel Quenneville, 3rd season with Blackhawks, 97-44-19; 14th overall, 535-327-137 in NHL.
ADDED: RW Joey Crabb, LW Jeremy Morin, LW Viktor Stalberg, C Philippe Paradis, C Christopher DiDomenico, D Ivan Vishnevskiy, D John Scott, C Jeff Taffe, G Marty Turco, RW Fernando Pisani, C Ryan Potulny.
LOST: RW Dustin Byfuglien, LW Ben Eager, D Brent Sopel, C Colin Fraser, RW Kris Versteeg, LW Andrew Ladd, C Adam Burish, C John Madden, G Antti Niemi, D Kim Johnsson.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Marty Turco. The veteran goalie, seeking his first Stanley Cup title, joins the defending champions to replace Antti Niemi -- one of several salary cap casualties.
ICING: The Blackhawks had only a few days to celebrate their title before reality set in and several players -- including postseason star Dustin Byfuglien -- were sent away as salary was shed from the cap. With Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews still performing as a dynamic duo, the Blackhawks will be a definite threat to repeat.
------ DETROIT RED WINGS
LAST SEASON: 44-24-5-9, 102 points. Lost to San Jose 4-1 in conference semifinals.
COACH: Mike Babcock, 6th season with Red Wings, 257-101-52; 8th overall, 326-163-85 in NHL.
ADDED: G Joey MacDonald, C Mike Modano, D Ruslan Salei.
LOST: D Brett Lebda, D Andreas Lilja, LW Brad May, C Jason Williams.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Mike Modano. After several seasons languishing in Dallas, the 40-year-old Stars forward leaves the franchise that drafted him in 1988 for a shot at a second Stanley Cup title.
ICING: The Red Wings come in under the radar after a one-year break from the Stanley Cup finals. But with a healthy roster and a longer than usual summer to recharge the batteries, Hockeytown might be ready for another run at a championship.
------ NASHVILLE PREDATORS
LAST SEASON: 47-29-2-4, 100 points. Lost to Chicago 4-2 in first round.
COACH: Barry Trotz, 12th season with Predators, 411-371-120; 11th overall in NHL.
ADDED: D Shane O'Brien, F Dan Gendur, LW Blake Geoffrion, RW Matt Halischuk, LW Sergei Kostitsyn, C Matthew Lombardi, C Jamie Lundmark, D Aaron Johnson.
LOST: C Jason Arnott, D Dan Hamhuis, C Dustin Boyd, G Dan Ellis, C Mike Santorelli, RW Ben Guite, D Denis Grebeshkov, C Dave Scatchard, LW Triston Grant.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Matthew Lombardi. Will be counted on to furnish another performance like last season with Phoenix, when he posted 19 goals and 53 points. With former captain Jason Arnott now with New Jersey, Lombardi is expected to step in as the Predators' top center.
ICING: Earning 100 points last season was only good enough for third in the Central. It might take just as many points to qualify for the playoffs again in a hotly contested and balanced conference.
------ ST. LOUIS BLUES
LAST SEASON: 40-32-5-5, 90 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Davis Payne, 2nd season with Blues, 23-15-4; 1st overall in NHL.
ADDED: G Jaroslav Halak, C T.J. Hensick, C Vladimir Sobotka, D Dean Arsene.
LOST: D Darryl Sydor, C Keith Tkachuk, G Chris Mason, LW D.J. King, D Mike Weaver, LW Paul Kariya, C Lars Eller, C Derek Armstrong.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jaroslav Halak. Away from the glaring spotlight of Montreal, the 25-year-old goalie has the opportunity to be the backbone of a club that appears to be on the rise.
ICING: Dropped from third to fourth in the Central, falling two points shy of its 92-point effort in the 2008-09 season. Davis Payne will be behind the bench for his first full season as an NHL head coach. The Blues will likely find themselves just outside of the playoff race again.
------ COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
LAST SEASON: 32-35-5-10, 79 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Scott Arniel, 1st season with Blue Jackets; 1st overall in NHL.
ADDED: LW Ethan Moreau, D Nate Guenin, C Kyle Wilson, RW Ben Guite.
LOST: D Nathan Paetsch.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Steve Mason. Talk about a sophomore slump. Mason started the 2008-09 season in the minors but then came up and posted an NHL-best 10 shutouts en route to the Calder Trophy as league rookie of the year. Last season, his goals-against average went up nearly a goal over his rookie campaign and Columbus missed the playoffs.
ICING: The pressure is back on the Blue Jackets after they failed to qualify for the playoffs after the first appearance in franchise history. Rick Nash has shown that he is an elite player, but he needs to lift his team to bigger and better things in the playoffs.
------ NORTHWEST DIVISION
LAST SEASON: 49-28-1-4, 103 points. Lost to Chicago 4-2 in conference semifinals.
COACH: Alain Vigneault, 5th season with Canucks, 182-114-32; 9th overall, 291-232-71 in NHL.
ADDED: D Ryan Parent, F Jonas Andersson, D Keith Ballard, RW Victor Oreskovich, D Dan Hamhuis, C Manny Malhotra, C Joel Perrault, LW Jeff Tambellini. LW Raffi Torres.
LOST: D Shane O'Brien, F Dan Gendur, G Andrew Raycroft, D Brad Lukowich, RW Pavol Demitra, D Willie Mitchell, RW Steve Bernier, RW Michael Grabner, C Ryan Johnson, LW Matt Pettinger, C Kyle Wellwood.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Henrik Sedin. Will face expectations of repeating his scoring title numbers of 113 points that earned him NHL MVP honors.
ICING: Always seemingly on the cusp of breaking through, the Canucks are again a popular pick to get to the Stanley Cup finals. With the Olympic hoopla in Vancouver now in the past, and the Canucks not facing a massive road trip as a result, this could be their time.
------ COLORADO AVALANCHE
LAST SEASON: 43-30-4-5, 95 points. Lost to San Jose 4-2 in first round.
COACH: Joe Sacco, 2nd season with Avalanche, 43-30-9; 2nd overall in NHL.
ADDED: LW Daniel Winnik.
LOST: D Brett Clark, RW Brian Willsie, C T.J. Hensick, LW Chris Durno, D Ruslan Salei, C Matt Hendricks, RW Marek Svatos, RW Darcy Tucker, C Stephane Yelle.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Matt Duchene. The rookie put up 55 points last season, helping the Avalanche make a surprise trip to the playoffs one season after posting the worst record in the Western Conference.
ICING: The Colorado kids are growing up quickly and are forming a fine nucleus that could be a tough core in the coming years. Took first step last season in getting to the playoffs, before being ousted by the regular season conference champs. But there is no guarantee that a second straight playoff appearance is in store.
------ CALGARY FLAMES
LAST SEASON: 40-32-3-7, 90 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Brent Sutter, 2nd season with Flames, 91-59-14; 3rd overall, 137-88-21 in NHL.
ADDED: G Henrik Karlsson, C Olli Jokinen, LW Alex Tanguay, RW Tim Jackman, LW Raitis Ivanans, C Ryan Stone.
LOST: LW Eric Nystrom, LW Chris Higgins, RW Jamal Mayers, LW Nigel Dawes, RW Brian McGrattan, G Vesa Toskala.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jarome Iginla. The Flames captain scored only 32 goals last season, the fourth time in five seasons he didn't reach 40 goals.
ICING: Brent Sutter's club dropped eight points last season from the previous one, snapping Calgary's run of four straight playoff appearances.
------ MINNESOTA WILD
LAST SEASON: 38-36-1-7, 84 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Todd Richards, 2nd season with Wild, 38-36-8; 2nd overall in NHL.
ADDED: F Brad Staubitz, C Matt Cullen, LW Eric Nystrom, C John Madden.
LOST: LW Derek Boogaard, D John Scott, C Andrew Ebbett, C Andy Hilbert, D Jaime Sifers, D Shane Hnidy, RW Owen Nolan, D Nathan Smith, G Wade Dubielewicz.
PLAYER TO WATCH: John Madden. The intense center joins his third team in three seasons. He brings with him a championship resume that features three titles from stints with New Jersey and Chicago.
ICING: The Wild are quite a ways away from their conference championship appearance in 2003, and will need some time to rebuild.
------ EDMONTON OILERS
LAST SEASON: 27-47-2-6, 62 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Tom Renney, 1st season with Oilers; 8th overall, 203-170-55 in NHL.
ADDED: C Taylor Hall, LW Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, C Colin Fraser, D Jim Vandermeer, D Kurtis Foster, LW Steve MacIntyre, LW Alexandre Giroux, D Shawn Belle, LW Gregory Stewart, G Martin Gerber.
LOST: LW Ethan Moreau, C Patrick O'Sullivan, C Marc-Antoine Pouliot, D Dean Arsene, RW Fernando Pisani, C Robert Nilsson, C Ryan Stone, D Aaron Johnson, C Mike Comrie, C Ryan Potulny.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Taylor Hall. The No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft is the first big piece in the rebuilding process for the Oilers, who finished last in the NHL in points.
ICING: Tom Renney takes over for coach Pat Quinn, who stepped aside to take a different position within the organization. Renney is a good teacher whose background is in talent evaluation and development. Edmonton will need that to get back to their traditional winning ways.
------ PACIFIC DIVISION
SAN JOSE SHARKS
LAST SEASON: 51-20-5-6, 113 points. Lost to Chicago 4-0 in conference finals.
COACH: Todd McLellan, 3rd season with Sharks, 104-18-11; 3rd overall in NHL.
ADDED: G Antero Niittymaki, RW Jamal Mayers, G Antti Niemi.
LOST: D Rob Blake, RW Brad Staubitz, C Manny Malhotra, G Evgeni Nabokov, RW Ryan Vesce, C Dwight Helminen, RW Jed Ortmeyer.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Antti Niemi. After being the Blackhawks' backbone in their run to the Stanley Cup title, Niemi has moved West to San Jose, which is still trying to get to the finals for the first time. A budding star, Niemi might be the perfect pick to replace longtime goalie Evgeni Nabokov.
ICING: The window for the Sharks is closing with each passing season. Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley have been through the grind many times during prolific careers that will seem a bit empty if San Jose can't at least find its way out of the Western playoffs.
------ PHOENIX COYOTES
LAST SEASON: 50-25-1-6, 107 points. Lost to Detroit 4-3 in first round.
COACH: Dave Tippett, 2nd season with Coyotes, 50-25-7; 8th season overall, 321-181-72 in NHL.
ADDED: D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, LW Ray Whitney, C Andrew Ebbett, C Eric Belanger.
LOST: LW Daniel Winnik, D Jim Vandermeer, C Petteri Nokelainen, C Matthew Lombardi, D Zbynek Michalek, C Joel Perrault, C Robert Lang, D Mathieu Schneider.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Ray Whitney. The longtime forward moved west after five seasons in Carolina. His veteran presence, along with the ability to still put up points, will be welcome additions to the young Coyotes.
ICING: The Coyotes fought through financial troubles and threats of relocation to make as improbable a trip to the playoffs as there was last season. With a potential new owner on the horizon, stability could be the next key factor that makes the Coyotes even more of a threat than last season when they pushed the Red Wings to seven games.
------ LOS ANGELES KINGS
LAST SEASON: 46-27-1-8, 101 points. Lost to Vancouver 4-2 in first round.
COACH: Terry Murray, 3rd season with Kings, 80-64-20; 14th overall, 440-341-120 in NHL.
ADDED: LW Alexei Ponikarovsky, D Willie Mitchell.
LOST: D Sean O'Donnell, LW Raitis Ivanans, LW Alexander Frolov, D Randy Jones, LW Fredrik Modin, C Jeff Halpern.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Drew Doughty. The defenseman is already a breakout star at age 20. His 59 points last season, his second in the NHL, ranked third among league defensemen. After winning an Olympic gold medal with Canada in Vancouver, Doughty became a finalist for the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman.
ICING: Will have to make up for the lost offense of Alexander Frolov, who left as a free agent, but the Kings are building a solid team from the back end out and will scare plenty of teams this season.
------ ANAHEIM DUCKS
LAST SEASON: 39-32-3-8, 89 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Randy Carlyle, 6th season with Ducks, 219-139-52; 5th overall in NHL.
ADDED: D Toni Lydman, LW Aaron Voros, Ryan Hillier, LW Josh Green, D Danny Syvret, D Andy Sutton, D Paul Mara.
LOST: D Scott Niedermayer, D Steve Eminger, RW Mike Brown, D James Wisniewski, G Joey MacDonald, D Aaron Ward, D Nathan Oystrick, LW Kyle Calder.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Bobby Ryan. Fresh off a season in which he posted a career-high 61 points and played on the U.S. Olympic team, Ryan was rewarded with a five-year, $25.5 million deal.
ICING: The Big 3 of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan make this explosive offense churn. Jonas Hiller will need to be just as strong in goal if the Ducks are to contend for a playoff spot.
------ DALLAS STARS
LAST SEASON: 37-31-4-10, 88 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Marc Crawford, 2nd season with Stars, 37-31-14; 15th overall, 507-392-170 in NHL.
ADDED: C Adam Burish, G Andrew Raycroft, RW Scott Glennie, D Brad Lukowich.
LOST: G Marty Turco, C Mike Modano, RW Jere Lehtinen.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Brad Richards. The center led the team in scoring with 91 points. A skillful playmaker, the Stars need to surround him with talented finishers.
ICING: The Stars have missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons after five straight postseason trips. They will be searching for a new team identity now that Mike Modano is gone. They will also be searching for wins that will likely prove to be elusive again.