10 questions about the start of NHL training camps

1. How will the ailing Flyers deal with their first Camp Tortorella?

The Philadelphia Flyers will get their first glimpse of life under coach John Tortorella at training camp, and they’re already shorthanded.

Sean Couturier is out week after week with an upper-body injury, keeping the 29-year-old center away from the start of camp and possibly the start of the season.

Couturier did not play again last season after December 28 and had back surgery to be re-evaluated during training camp on February 11.

The Flyers were 13-34-6 without Couturier last season.

defender Ryan Ellis He is also expected to start the season on long-term injury reserve. He played four games last season due to a lower body injury.

All injury news happens with Philadelphia’s first training camp under Tortorella set to begin.

The new coach has been vocal about how he feels the Flyers’ culture needs to change, telling SiriusXM NHL Network Radio on Sept. 7 that he has “major concerns about the (locker) room,” hence it will be interesting what happens camp without Couturier and Ellis.

Video: The crew on Flyer’s expectations under Tortorella

2. Who will be the Maple Leafs’ starting goalie on opening night?

Teams never want their biggest question mark to be in goal, but that’s exactly the case with the Maple Leafs, who have done it Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray competing for the #1 job.

Toronto signed Samsonov as an unrestricted free agent from the Washington Capitals and acquired Murray in a trade with the Ottawa Senators. Jack CampellToronto’s No. 1 goaltender last season left the team as an unrestricted free agent and signed a five-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers.

Neither is a slam dunk for Toronto, but Samsonov and Murray, if healthy, could be a solid tandem given their experience and potential.

Samsonov is 25 and seven years away from being selected in the first round (No. 15). He played 44 games last season, the most in his three NHL seasons, but had his highest goals against average (3.02) and lowest save percentage (.896).

Murray is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2016, 2017), but his game with the Senators has waned over the past two seasons. He was 15-25-3 with a 3.23 GAA and a .899 save percentage in 47 games.

3. Will the Golden Knights discover a #1 goaltender?

Robin Lehner will miss the entire season and leave due to hip surgery Logan Thompson, Adin Hill and Laurent Brosoit compete for starting goalie of the Vegas Golden Knights on opening night on October 11 in the Los Angeles Kings.

Combined, they have 166 combined NHL starts. Brossoit is the veteran at 86. Hill has 63 and Thompson has 17.

Thompson’s strong finish last season, when he went 9-4-3 in 17 games from March 10 through the end of the season with a 2.75 GAA and a .911 save ratio, could make him the favorite to go to camp goes, but it’s a clean slate with new coach Bruce Cassidy.

The Golden Knights acquired Hill from the San Jose Sharks on August 29 for a fourth-round pick in the 2024 NHL draft. They led him to deepen the position and fuel more competition for game time with Thompson and Brossoit.

Video: Looking ahead to the Golden Knights off-season

4. Who will be Colorado’s #2 center?

Nazem Kadri had an NHL career high as the Avalanche’s No. 2 center last season with 87 points (28 goals, 59 assists). He had another 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 16 Stanley Cup Playoff games, helping them win the cup.

But Kadri’s influence was so strong that he priced himself out of Colorado.

The Avalanche didn’t have the salary cap to keep him, and Kadri instead went as a full free agent and signed a seven-year, $49 million deal with the Calgary Flames, leaving a huge hole in Colorado’s roster.

The most likely candidates to fill the position are JT Compher, Alex Newhook, Ben Meyers and Evan Rodriguesbut is a placeholder Mikko Rantanenwho has played primarily on the right wing but gained some experience at center last season when Kadri was injured in the playoffs.

5. Will Lambert make changes to the identity of the islanders?

Lane Lambert has replaced Barrydiot as the New York Islanders coach, who was hired on May 16, but he’s not new to the team.

Lambert has been the assistant coach at Defiance for the past four seasons. Since 2011, he has also been an assistant todiots with the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators.

Lambert’s coaching style and philosophy have undoubtedly been influenced by defiance, but the 57-year-old also wants to forge his own path and he’s likely to have some fresh ideas and concepts that could help the Islanders become a potentially faster and more attacking team.

The Islanders missed the playoffs last season when they were 23rd in goals per game (2.79). They were the only team in the NHL not to have a player with at least 60 points; Rock Nelson and Matthew Barsal Everyone had 59.

6. Who will be the Devils’ #1 goaltender?

The New Jersey Devils have two goalies they like and trust Vitek Vanecek and Mackenzie Blackwoodbut they’re not sure either can be a No. 1 they can count on.

They won’t find out until the season starts and they’re playing regular games, but training camp will help determine who will make the first crack at No. 1 on the depth chart between Vanecek and Blackwood.

The Devils acquired Vanecek in a deal with the Capitals on July 8 and signed him 11 days later to a three-year, $10.2 million contract. He was 20-12-6 with a 2.67 GAA, .908 save percentage and four shutouts in 42 games (39 starts) last season.

Blackwood was limited by injuries last season, going 9-10-4 in 25 games with a 3.39 GAA and an .892 save percentage.

The Devils fielded an NHL-high of seven goalies and missed the playoffs by 37 points.

7. Will Gaudreau and Laine play on the same line?

The Columbus Blue Jackets training camp plan is to see what kind of chemistry is going forward Johnny Gaudreau and patrick laine can develop because there’s a good chance they’re playing on the same line and same powerplay unit.

Gaudreau signed a seven-year, $68.25 million deal with Columbus ($9.75 million average annual value) on July 13 after ending last season with 115 points (30 goals, 85 assists) for Calgary.

Laine re-signed with the Blue Jackets on July 22 (four years, $8.7 million AAV). He had 56 points (26 goals, 30 assists) in 56 games for Columbus last season.

Gaudreau is expected to be the left wing in the top tier and Laine the right wing. Gaudreau is the playmaker on the power play and Laine is the shooter.

Assuming they are playing on the same line, the next question is: Who is the center? The top candidates are BooneJenner, Jack Roslovic and Cole Sillinger. Beginner KentJohnson also has an outside shot on the position.

8. Who from the 2022 NHL draft class will be on the opening night draft?

Or so it seems Juraj Slafkowski, the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NHL draft, would have to fall out with the Montreal Canadiens at camp to lose his roster spot. They’re going young in a tag, and Slafkovsky has an NHL-eligible physique at 6-foot-3, 218 pounds.

External expectations will be high for the 18-year-old Slovakian forward but the Canadians will do their best to manage them internally with Slafkovsky one of the faces of their rebuild.

Slafkovsky can play in the American Hockey League with Laval if he doesn’t make the Canadian roster.

Shane Wrightthe Seattle Kraken’s No. 4 is a favorite to crack the lineup, possibly along with one of the top three centers Matty Beniersthe No. 2 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, and Alex Wennberg if Yanni Gourde switches to the wing.

Wright can’t go to the AHL because he’s 18 and was drafted from the Canadian Hockey League. If he doesn’t make the Kraken, he’d be back in the Ontario Hockey League.

defender Simon Nemekthe Devils’ No. 2, has an outside chance, but New Jersey expects him to start the season with Utica of the AHL.

Logan Cooley, the Arizona Coyotes’ No. 3 pick, will play at the University of Minnesota this season. Similar, Tailor Gauthierthe No. 5 Flyers player, plays NCAA hockey at Boston College.

Video: NHL Tonight on Shane Wright and Juraj Slafkovsky

9. Which players on PTOs will receive contracts?

Eric Staal will try to find his way back into the NHL with the Florida Panthers, but first he needs to earn a contract.

The 37-year-old forward, a 1,293 NHL game veteran, is one of several players going to training camp on professional tryout contracts.

Staal did not play in the NHL last season. He represented Canada at the Beijing 2022 Olympics, recording four points (one goal, three assists) in five games. He played four games with Iowa in the American Hockey League in preparation for the Olympics.

Most recently in the NHL, he played for the Canadiens in the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals when they lost a best-of-7 series in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Staal had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 21 playoff games this season.

Jimmy Vesey goes to training camp with the New York Rangers, the same team that signed him to his first NHL contract ahead of the 2016-17 season. Vesey had 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 68 games with the Devils last season.

Forward Artyom Anisimov (flyers), Jake Virtanen (oiler), Zach Aston Reese (maple leaves), Derick Brassard (Senators), Alex Chiasson (coyotes), Cody Eakin (flames) and Sonny Milano (Flames) and defenders Calvin of Haan (Carolina Hurricanes), Danny DeKeyser (Vancouver Canucks), Jason Demers (oiler), Scott Harington (sharks) and Michael Stone (Flames) also enter their respective camps on a PTO.

10. Who will take Marchand’s place at the helm of the Bruins?

Brad Marchand has started skating, but he’s not expected back in the Boston Bruins lineup until late November or early December, leaving a hole on the left wing on the top center line Patrice Bergeron.

Paul Zacha is the front runner to fill Marchand’s place Jake DeBrusk a way to be on the right wing. The Bruins acquired Zacha from the Devils for the forward Eric Hala on July 13 and signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract on August 10.

The 25-year-old had a career-high 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in 70 games last season.

The Bruins should then have a second line that has features David Krejciwho is returning to Boston after his game in the Czech Republic last season, in the middle with David Pastrnak to his right and Taylor Hall on the left.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.