Rookie tournaments and camps are underway, the preseason starts next week and we are just about a month away from opening night of the 2013-14 NHL season. Let’s take a look at some of the best upcoming storylines.

Teemu Selanne

For like the sixth year in a row Teemu Selanne is coming back for his final season. This time you can bet it will be his final season though. At 43 he doesn’t really have that much left in the tank, plus the Ducks have a lot of young and upcoming talent that is nipping at the bud for some playing time. But he does have a chance to net 700 goals (likely) and 1500 points (less likely but possible). The Ducks also have a great chance to have him go out a winner. Which leads me to…

Anaheim Ducks

My vote for the best team in the West last year, the Ducks chances this year are pretty good to win it all. They have two capable goaltenders, a mix on defense that works and some pretty loaded scoring lines even without Bobby Ryan (sheds a tear for Bobby). They also had the Blackhawks number last season. The only thing that prevented them from reaching postseason success was a familiar roadblock that has their number but now they no longer have to worry about anymore. Which leads me to…

Detroit moves East

The Red Wings, now in the Eastern Conference, have an already made rivalry with the Pittsburgh Penguins (recent back to back Stanley Cup combatants) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (old school original six rivals). The downside is their best current rivalries with the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks are now relegated to once or twice a season, unless they meet in the Stanley Cup Finals. This also means Chicago is the lone Original Six team in the West making another Original Six Stanley Cup matchup fairly unlikely. Speaking of Chicago…

Chicago Blackhawks and Corey Crawford

The Blackhawks have now won two Stanley Cups in the past four seasons. Unlike the last time they won it all, the Blackhawks retain almost everybody from this Stanley Cup winning team, mostly because only a few were free agents. This decreases the likelihood they will be hungry enough to repeat. The most interesting part about this winning team is that Corey Crawford was signed to a six year 36 million dollar contract. Which, don’t get me wrong, he deserves, but it’s more than twice the amount they wanted to pay Antti Neimi. Granted Crawford is a little better than Niemi and they appear to have more free cap space this time around but it’s still very interesting coming from a shrewd general manager who previously didn’t think much of goalies. Not to mention most of their cap space is now tied up to about a half a dozen players. Speaking of goalies…

The Saga of Roberto Luongo

Tis a great tale of woe and sadness… not really but this will be the hardest most surreal season of Luongo’s topsy turvy career. After mentally moving on Luongo has no choice but to mentally return. Plus don’t forget this is an Olympic year and despite leading the Canadian Team to the Gold medal in 2010, he didn’t even get a camp invite. The funniest part about this messy divorce and reconciliation is Vancouver claiming this was what they wanted all along. Nobody believes that. Even Luongo admitted the only reason he wasn’t acquired was because of his contract. The Canucks realized they were never going to be able to move him so they dumped Schneider because they didn’t need two starting caliber goalies. Corey Schneider also made this a much easier decision because of his abysmal performance in the last postseason. Speaking of Schneider…

Brodeur in, Schneider in

Martin Brodeur will be the starting goalie even though Schneider is more than capable and there’s nothing wrong with that. If the Devils were smart though, they’d split the playing time evenly and save Brodeur for the playoffs. But Brodeur will probably end up playing 50 to 60 games, which isn’t beneficial to anyone. Schneider needs to play more to get used to being a Devil and a starter. In other goalie news…

Fleury is still going to be the Penguins Starter

This makes me laugh and cry at the same time. How can any organization be that stupid and clueless is beyond me. In case you missed it, I reamed GM Ray Shero a new one in my year in review column. The Fleury era is over, finished, kaput. I have no idea what they expect to happen by continuing to play/view him as a starter. He isn’t going to get his confidence back and even if he makes it through the regular season, he will just end up getting pulled in the playoffs again. According to Albert Einstein the definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Yes folks the Penguins are insane. More goalie news…

What are the Maple Leafs thinking

James Reimer had a break out regular season and post season in Toronto and was rewarded with more competition. Okay then. It’s already bad enough that he plays in Toronto, he doesn’t really need any more distractions like Jonathan Bernier pushing him for playing time. Just ask Carey Price how it feels to play in a big Canadian market with distractions. Not to mention if Reimer continues to play well, Bernier isn’t really going to have much to do so basically you traded for him for nothing. This would have been a smarter trade to make after Reimer struggled this season. And you got to feel for Jonathan Bernier. He played well for the Kings but couldn’t supplant Jonathan Quick, not like that’s an easy task. If he ends up playing well for the Maple Leafs, it won’t really matter if Reimer plays better. Hard to imagine a guy with his talents can’t find a home where he can start when there’s so many teams that need a good starting goalie or a younger goalie to eventually supplant an aging star. There’s a team that would have been a much better fit for Bernier that we already talked about…

Kovalchuk out, Jagr in and let’s mention Schneider again

After Ilya Kovalchuk went home to Russia the Devils snagged everyone’s favorite rented gun consolation prize Jaromir Jagr. Jagr has a chance at 700 goals and 1700 point, both likely. Jagr is not bad for a one year fix but he’s not really a long term solution. Which is probably why the Devils should have saved the 9th overall pick to draft an offensive player instead of trading for Corey Schneider. But I know they Devils wanted a replacement for Brodeur and they probably thought Schneider was the best option. But when you look at all the young goalie prospects the Kings, Ducks and Blackhawks have not to mention that Bernier guy floating around, they probably could have given up less and gotten more. They will probably end up regretting that trade. Speaking of trades…

Bruins hangover and a guy named Seguin

If you look back at the last few Stanley Cup losers either they don’t make the playoffs or they lose in the 1st round. That doesn’t appear to be very likely in the Bruins case. However, I still think trading Tyler Seguin was a mistake. If you trade the number 2 overall pick after only a few seasons you didn’t draft correctly. Just because he had one bad postseason doesn’t mean anything. As far as him being a partier goes he’s 21 years old, what did you expect him to do? All I know is Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were labeled as partiers and they helped the Kings win a Stanley Cup and the Flyers haven’t done anything since. As far as him not “fitting” the Bruins style… change your style to fit him then. He’s a highly talented scorer. Not every line needs to be the same grinding style line. I think this is one the Bruins will regret. Speaking of regrettable things…

Will the Blue Jackets ever make the playoffs again

In their 13 year existence the Blue Jackets have only made the playoffs once. They came close last season and some would say they have all the pieces to make it this season. It seems unlikely that will happen this season now that they are in an 8 team division where only 4 make it in and possibly 5. But at least they are on the right path for once. Speaking of realignment…

Realignment Names

Is it just me or do the names not make any sense? The Pacific division is the best name because most teams border the Pacific Ocean except when you really look at it only 4 of the 7 do. The Central isn’t that bad either even though a couple of the teams aren’t in the central timezone but at least they are in the center of the United States. The Metropolitan err umm what the heck name is that? Technically every city is a metropolitan so every division could be named that. Then if you go by a bunch of cities forming a region Pittsburgh (Penguins) forms nothing because it isn’t near any other major city. Raleigh (Hurricanes) and Columbus (Blue Jackets) are sort of near other cities but not really. For the Atlantic, half of the teams are nowhere near the Atlantic Ocean. I can also make a case for totaling redoing the teams in each Eastern Conference division but I realize they aren’t as easy to place as the Western Conference is.

In a few weeks I’ll make season predictions for each team.

Alex Mueller

Author: Alex Mueller

Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He currently plays goalie in ice hockey at San Diego Ice Arena.

Top Storylines of the 2013-14 NHL SeasonAlex MuellerSeason PreviewsAnaheim Ducks,Anti Niemi,Boston Bruins,Chicago Blackhawks,Columbus Blue Jackets,Corey Crawford,Cory Schneider,Detroit Red Wings,James Reimer,Jaromir Jagr,Jonathan Bernier,Marc-Andre Fleury,Martin Brodeur,New Jersey Devils,Pittsburgh Penguins,Robert Luongo,Teemu Selanne,Toronto Maple Leafs,Tyler Seguin,Vancouver Canucks
Rookie tournaments and camps are underway, the preseason starts next week and we are just about a month away from opening night of the 2013-14 NHL season. Let's take a look at some of the best upcoming storylines. Teemu Selanne For like the sixth year in a row Teemu Selanne is...