1. Streak in jeopardy: The Detroit Red Wings’ run of 25 consecutive seasons in the playoffs could be over. Pavel Datsyuk has left to play in Russia, and the Red Wings were unable to land any defensive help in the offseason.
Coincidentally, this Red Wings test comes in their final season in Joe Louis Arena. They will move into new arena in 2017-18.
2. Auston Matthews era begins: The Arizona native showed during the World Cup Hockey that he will have a major impact for the Toronto Maple Leafs in his rookie season.
Only 19, Matthews should be able to score 20-25 goals and register 50-plus points. He is a 6-2 center who can score and create.
3. Price is right: Goalie Carey Price’s return to health, coupled with noteworthy offseason moves by general manager Marc Bergevin, means the Montreal Canadiens will again be one of top teams in the Atlantic Division.
Bergevin addressed specific needs by trading for defenseman Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw. The Canadiens will be harder to play against. Bergevin also signedAlexander Radulov, an offensive star in the Kontinental Hockey League, to give the team more offensive punch.
4. Let’s make a deal: Right-hand shot defenseman Jacob Trouba has asked theWinnipeg Jets to trade him, and several teams, including the Boston Bruins andColorado Avalanche, are interested.
The problem is that the Jets want a young defenseman in return, and none of the interested parties are in a position to make that kind of deal. This situation could drag on for several weeks. Trouba must be signed by Dec. 1 to be eligible to play this season because he is a restricted free agent.
5. Sharks still circling: The defending Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks were not a fluke. They are the favorites to win the Pacific Division.
General manager Doug Wilson added forward Mikkel Boedker to add quickness and offensive depth. The signing of David Schlemko also helps the depth on the blue line. This is a well-balanced roster.
6. Olympic decision coming: The NHL and International Olympic Committee have not reached any agreement about NHL players competing at the 2018 Games in South Korea. The disagreement is about who will pay for the expenses associated with competing, including the cost of insurance on their contracts.
The NHL likely will make a decision by the end of December because countries will need a full year to build a roster without NHL players.
7. NHL celebrating 100 years: The NHL was created in 1917, and the league has a variety of events to help commemorate its birthday. Wayne Gretzky has been named the centennial ambassador.
The party begins Jan. 1 when the Red Wings and Maple Leafs play the Centennial Classic outdoor game at BMO Stadium in Toronto. The league will unveil its top 100 players of all-time on All-Star weekend.
8. Penguins go for two: The Pittsburgh Penguins would appear to have a reasonable chance of becoming the first franchise to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the 1997-98 Red Wings.
Sidney Crosby was a dominant player at the World Cup, and the Penguins basically kept the same group intact that won the Stanley Cup in June.
9. Connor McDavid mania: Based on how dynamic he was at the World Cup, McDavid looks like he might be ready to hatch a 100-point season in his second season in Edmonton.
McDavid already has a Crosby-like aura.
10. Subban a Nashville star? The trading of Weber for P.K. Subban could have a major impact for the Nashville Predators in more ways than one.