Team-by-team capsules are listed in order of finish last season.
LAST SEASON: 47-23-12, 106 points. Lost to Boston 4-0 in conference semifinals.
COACH: Peter Laviolette
BOTTOM LINE: The Flyers took a big risk by trading captain Mike Richards and leading goal scorer Jeff Carter on the same day in a pair of stunning deals. The team has a new look, but the question is whether the club has improved.
LAST SEASON: 49-25-8, 106 points. Lost to Tampa Bay 4-3 in first round.
COACH: Dan Bylsma
BOTTOM LINE: The addition of veteran Steve Sullivan will help, but no one will be able to fill Sidney Crosby's place if he remains out due to concussion symptoms. He hasn't played since January.
New York Rangers
LAST SEASON: 44-33-5, 93 points. Lost to Washington 4-1 in first round.
COACH: John Tortorella
BOTTOM LINE: General manager Glen Sather stood up in Philadelphia and guaranteed a victory over the Flyers in the Winter Classic and then promised that the Rangers would carry the Stanley Cup in June.
New Jersey Devils
LAST SEASON: 38-39-5, 81 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Peter DeBoer
BOTTOM LINE: DeBoer replaced Jacques Lemaire and is in the rare position of trying to get the Devils back into the playoffs after they missed the postseason for the first time since 1996.
New York Islanders
LAST SEASON: 30-39-13, 73 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Jack Capuano
BOTTOM LINE: The Islanders have proclaimed that the rebuilding process is over and now is the time for them to start winning.
LAST SEASON: 46-25-11, 103 points. Beat Vancouver 4-3 to win Stanley Cup.
COACH: Claude Julien
BOTTOM LINE: The Bruins set the bar high last season and completed Boston's recent run of championships in the four major sports.
LAST SEASON: 44-30-8, 96 points. Lost to Boston 4-3 in first round.
COACH: Jacques Martin
BOTTOM LINE: Early playoff departures are hardly tolerated in Montreal, where the Canadiens are going through their longest stretch without a Stanley Cup title in team history. Not since 1993 has hockey's winningest team brought home the Cup.
LAST SEASON: 43-29-10, 96 points. Lost to Philadelphia 4-3 in first round.
COACH: Lindy Ruff
BOTTOM LINE: If they capitalize on last season's playoff heartbreak and use it as a building block, the Sabres could make some noise in the East.
Toronto Maple Leafs
LAST SEASON: 37-34-11, 85 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Ron Wilson
BOTTOM LINE: Wilson has failed to get the Maple Leafs into the playoffs in his first three seasons as coach, and Toronto hasn't been in the postseason since 2004 - before the NHL lockout.
LAST SEASON: 32-40-10, 74 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Paul MacLean
BOTTOM LINE: Since the Senators reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2007, they have missed the playoffs twice and been ousted in the first round twice.
LAST SEASON: 48-23-11, 107 points. Lost to Tampa Bay 4-0 in conference semifinals.
COACH: Bruce Boudreau
BOTTOM LINE: With Crosby and Evgeni Malkin sidelined in Pittsburgh in last season's playoffs, Washington seemed to have an open road to the finals. It didn't happen. It will need to soon for Alex Ovechkin to raise himself to the championship level of his rival Crosby.
Tampa Bay Lightning
LAST SEASON: 46-25-11, 103 points. Lost to Boston 4-3 in conference finals.
COACH: Guy Boucher
BOTTOM LINE: If Steven Stamkos and seemingly ageless Martin St. Louis can both put up 90-plus point seasons again, and Dwayne Roloson can remain strong in goal at age 42, the Lightning will be able to prove that last season's run to the NHL final four was no fluke.
LAST SEASON: 40-31-11, 91 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Paul Maurice
BOTTOM LINE: The losses of veteran forwards Erik Cole and Cory Stillman will be felt on and off the ice.
LAST SEASON: 34-36-12, 80 points as Atlanta Thrashers. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Claude Noel
BOTTOM LINE: The new Jets will enjoy a honeymoon period in Winnipeg, which has been longing for a team since the former Jets left in 1996 to become the Phoenix Coyotes.
LAST SEASON: 30-40-12, 72 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Kevin Dineen
BOTTOM LINE: The Panthers certainly won the offseason as far as adding the most big names to the roster.
Detroit Red Wings
LAST SEASON: 47-25-10, 104 points. Lost to San Jose 4-3 in conference semifinals.
COACH: Mike Babcock
BOTTOM LINE: The Red Wings have been knocked out in the second round by San Jose in two consecutive years following opening-round victories against Phoenix.
LAST SEASON: 44-27-11, 99 points. Lost to Vancouver 4-2 in conference semifinals.
COACH: Barry Trotz
BOTTOM LINE: The Predators reached the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons and made their first trip to the second round.
LAST SEASON: 44-29-9, 97 points. Lost to Vancouver 4-3 in first round.
COACH: Joel Quenneville
BOTTOM LINE: The Blackhawks had their second roster overhaul in two years. Much more is expected out of them than squeaking into the playoffs on the last day of the season and a first-round ouster.
St. Louis Blues
LAST SEASON: 38-33-11, 87 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Davis Payne
BOTTOM LINE: After missing the playoffs in five of the past six years, the Blues hope a youth movement will get them back in.
Columbus Blue Jackets
LAST SEASON: 34-35-13, 81 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Scott Arniel
BOTTOM LINE: Anything other than a playoff appearance will be a disappointment for Columbus, which has been on the outside for two straight years following the franchise's only trip to the postseason.
LAST SEASON: 54-19-9, 117 points. Lost to Boston 4-3 in Stanley Cup finals.
COACH: Alain Vigneault
BOTTOM LINE: The disappointment of the Game 7 home loss to Boston in the finals, and the bitter taste of the subsequent riots in Vancouver is fading. It has been replaced by optimism that the Canucks are getting closer to their first championship.
LAST SEASON: 41-29-12, 94 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Brent Sutter
BOTTOM LINE: The Flames have missed the playoffs by just a handful of points in the two years Sutter has been head coach after five consecutive trips.
LAST SEASON: 39-35-8, 86 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Mike Yeo
BOTTOM LINE: The loss of All-Star defenseman Brent Burns will hurt.
LAST SEASON: 30-44-8, 68 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Joe Sacco
BOTTOM LINE: Colorado has missed the playoffs every other year since falling short in 2007. Former captain Foote retired, leaving the team in the hands of rising star forward Matt Duchene and a whole lot of new faces in the Rockies.
LAST SEASON: 25-45-12, 62 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Tom Renney
BOTTOM LINE: Renney is used to rebuilding projects, and this one won't be accomplished quickly.
San Jose Sharks
LAST SEASON: 48-25-9, 105 points. Lost to Vancouver 4-1 in conference finals.
COACH: Todd McLellan
BOTTOM LINE: San Jose has gotten to the Western Conference finals the past two years but is still seeking the elusive first appearance in the Stanley Cup finals.
LAST SEASON: 47-30-5, 99 points. Lost to Nashville 4-2 in first round.
COACH: Randy Carlyle
BOTTOM LINE: The Ducks are packed up front on offense and they will rely heavily on goalie Jonas Hiller.
LAST SEASON: 43-26-13, 99 points. Lost to Detroit 4-0 in first round.
COACH: Dave Tippett
BOTTOM LINE: As usual, the biggest question surrounding the Coyotes is who will eventually own the team and where it will play once a sale is completed.
Los Angeles Kings
LAST SEASON: 46-30-6, 98 points. Lost to San Jose 4-2 in first round.
COACH: Terry Murray
BOTTOM LINE: The Kings could be gearing up to be a major force in the West.
LAST SEASON: 42-29-11, 95 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Glen Gulutzan
BOTTOM LINE: The Stars will be hard-pressed to break their three-year playoff drought or even match their 95 points from last season.