PLAYER TO WATCH: Jeff Skinner. The 19-year-old center burst onto the scene last season and was second on the Hurricanes with 31 goals and 63 points in 82 games. The NHL’s youngest player skated off with the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year and will look to avoid the sophomore jinx.
LAST SEASON: 34-36-12, 80 points as Atlanta Thrashers. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Claude Noel, 1st season with Winnipeg; 2nd overall, 10-8-6 in NHL.
ADDED: D Randy Jones, LW Tanner Glass, D Derek Meech, C Aaron Gagnon, D Mark Flood, RW Eric Fehr, LW Kenndal McArdle, C Kyle Wellwood.
LOST: RW Anthony Stewart, RW Radek Dvorak, LW Eric Boulton, D Freddy Meyer, C Rob Schremp.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Dustin Byfuglien. After leading NHL defensemen last season with 20 goals and posting career highs with 33 assists and 53 points, Byfuglien was charged during the offseason with boating while intoxicated on a lake near Minneapolis. He will need to overcome his legal troubles and the move to Winnipeg from Atlanta and produce on the ice again for the Jets to have hopes of a successful season.
LAST SEASON: 30-40-12, 72 points. Out of playoffs.
COACH: Kevin Dineen, 1st season with Panthers; 1st overall in NHL.
ADDED: C Jonathan Huberdeau, D Brian Campbell, C Tomas Kopecky, LW Scottie Upshall, G Jose Theodore, D Ed Jovanovski, C Marcel Goc, RW Tomas Fleischmann, D Nolan Yonkman, LW Sean Bergenheim, RW Kris Versteeg, RW Matt Bradley, C Angelo Esposito.
LOST: G Tomas Vokoun, C Marty Reasoner, LW Rostislav Olesz, RW Niclas Bergfors, LW Darcy Hordichuk, D Alexander Sulzer, RW Byron Bitz, LW Kenndal McArdle, RW Steve Bernier, LW Sergei Samsonov.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Campbell. The well-traveled defenseman should help the Panthers gain an identity as he joins a host of veteran additions to a club that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2000. Florida is his fourth team in five seasons, but he is only two seasons removed from being a Stanley Cup champion with Chicago. He will try to bring the winning attitude with him to Florida.
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