Niklas Backstrom will have to have a career season for the rebuilding Wild to make a playoff run. (Getty Images)
NHL training camps are almost upon us.
Here are 30 questions to ponder as the players return to the ice:
Can veterans Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne provide enough scoring Finnish to give the Ducks’ top line of Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry room to move?
Ilya Kovalchuk…should he stay or should he go?
Can the Bruins come close to winning 53 games again?
Can Tim Connolly stay healthy enough to play 70-plus games?
Will the Flames’ third defense pairing of Mark Giordano and Adam Pardy ever see the ice?
Is Cam Ward a top-five NHL goaltender?
How will Cristobal Huet fare as the Hawks’ one-and-only No. 1 goalie?
Whatever has happened to the once-mighty Avs?
Will Ken Hitchcock’s Blue Jackets be one of the highest-scoring teams in the NHL this season?
Why isn’t anyone talking about Fabian Brunnstrom anymore?
Is this the last season for Norris knight Nicklas Lidstrom?
Can coach Pat Quinn revive the Oil?
Will the perennial non-playoff Panthers finally sneak back into the post-season?
How good are all the Kings kids?
Is this the year Niklas Backstrom finally wins the Vezina – and the Hart?
Who are all these new guys, anyway?
How come there aren’t any new guys, anyway?
What is the secret to the Devils’ perpetual success?
Are the off-season signings of Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron an admission that Rick DiPietro is forever hip-hobbled?
What does Sean Avery have in store this time around?
The obvious question: Where will potential 50-goal man Dany Heatley end up?
Can the Flyers end their 35-year Stanley Cup drought?
Surely, it wasn’t this bad in Winnipeg, was it?
Can Crosby and Malkin do it all over again?
Will the Blues’ youth boom or bust?
Is there a Stanley Cup surprise in store – or just more playoff disappointment?
Is Victor Hedman already the Bolts’ best defenseman?
Why haven’t the Leafs flipped one – or two – of their nine NHL defensemen for a forward who can score?
Can Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows build on breakout years?
Is it Alex Ovechkin’s turn to smile in June?
Sam McCaig is The Hockey News' senior copy editor and a contributor to THN.com. His blog and his column, From The Point, appear regularly.
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