By Stu Hackel
Every NHL season starts with expectations and conjures up predictions about where teams might finish, but this is a season like no other. You can’t even compare it too closely to the lockout-shortened 1995 campaign, one played with a 26-team NHL, a different conference alignment and playoff format, no shootout or “loser’s point,” and far less parity. And even in a normal season, there is so much uncertainty in sports that preseason predictions are a waste of time.
SI.com colleagues Brian Cazeneuve, Sarah Kwak and Adrian Dater have their thoughts on the upcoming season and you can find them here:
Our favorite preseason pastime at Red Light is trying to boil down each team’s success or failure to one or a few essential themes. Each club has them and the answers to these questions, theoretically at least, should go a long way to determining if it plays up to expectations and potential. Keep in mind they all take place within the framework of the shortened season imposing its own unique characteristics on the playoff chase, which we pondered in this post.
Below are the essential questions for each team in the East and here’s the link for teams in the West: