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I will be honest I got the idea from a hockeynews blog that I read with a player from each division to watch . I liked the idea so much that I decided just to expand on it. So I will be naming a player of interest to watch this year from each team. The reason they are of interest vary and may be either ; contract value , potential , looking to break a record ect ect. So onto it.

Anaheim- Bobby Ryan- After being selected 2nd after Sidney Crosby and failing to produce at any level of equivalent skill so far. He will be interesting to watch this year as being promised top six minutes , he will have a chance to show what he is made of.

Atlanta- Ilya Kovalchuk - After having just a brief taste of the playoffs two seasons ago he has yet to see it again , and he has began to get frustrated with Atlanta management . Will he produce the same as last year , and will he request a trade as well?

Avalanche-Andrew Raycroft- Yes I know odd choice . But it is more or less known how the other players will perform and Raycfroft can be a difference maker. After being phenomenal in his rookie year , he followed a spectacular drop in confidence and was crucified in a ravenous market .Talent does not disapear for someone this young , merely confidence. If he is able to pull himself together and regain his old confidence , he will provide steady goaltending for the Avs.

Boston-Patrice Bergeron- Bergeron after being eliminated from last season due to an injury , will be interesting to watch if he can regain his old form. If so Boston has one more threat to play with.

Buffalo-Derek Roy- Since breaking into the league Roy has continously improved his game every season . Cracking the 80 point mark last year , it will be interesting to see if he can push any higher , and perhaps become the new Briere/Drury of the Sabres.

Calgary- Todd Bertuzzi Well what can i say about Todd , we all know his story . After last year being signed to the Ducks and then let go just as quickly must of been rather perplexing . But it should be noted with the limited time he played last year he still managed to put up 40 point in 68 games . With more playing time on Calgary we will be able to see if he still has what it takes.

Carolina-Sergei Samsonov- Samsonov after two partial seasons split between the Montreal Canadiens and Chicage Blackhawks ,, looked to be on the end of a rather quickly cut short career . But having been picked up by Carolina and immediately capturing his old skill . He played well enough to earn a new contract from the Canes. With a full season to play with them , and the return to health of several prime players . Can Samsanov push himself to point per game play?

Chicago-Brian Campbell- One of the most sought after UFA's this summer , Campbell signed a rather lucrative and in some eyes over priced contract with the Hawks. Campbell will be looked at to provide not only his contract worth , but improve the D and PP of a Chicago team.

Columbus-R.J. Umberger- After playing well last season and extremely well in the playoffs . It will be interesting to see how well he can play with top 6 minutes on Columbus and Rick Nash most likely on his wing.

Dallas-Fabian Brunnstrom- Considered by many to be an elite level prospect , Brunnstrom is looking to crack the roster spot and contribute to an already potent Stars offence. Should be interesting to see if he lives up to the hype.

Detroit-Chris Osgood- Yes I know most people would assume Hossa , but I look to Osgood first . Osgood as we all know was the goaltender for the Wings during their 07-08 playoff victories . With the retirement of Hasek , Osgood will be looked at to mimick his perfromances from last year and provide solid goaltending for the wings for about 50-60 games. Only question is can he do it?

Edmonton-Shawn Horcoff- Last year Horcoff was on pace for career best's in points and goals and even appeared in the all star-game. But an ill-timed injury ended his season early. It will be interesting to see if he can pick up where he left off last season , and perhaps even improve further with an improved Edmonton team around him.

Florida-Brian McCabe- Mccabe is finally out of the limelight in Toronto . Moving down to a less ravenous hockey market might do wonders for McCabe . It should be interesting to see if he is able to re-gain his former confidence under less scrutiny in Florida.

Los Angeles-Drew Doughty- After being selected 2nd overall in this year's entry draft , and with expectations to make the team this year . It will be interesting to see if he can come in and contribute to LA's much maligned D-corps.

Minnesota-Corey Locke- With the departure of several key offencive players from Minnesota . Players like Locke will be looked at to make the team this year and contribute. It will be interesting to see after being denied the chance in Montreal if locke not only makes the team but if he does if he is able to contribute at a nhl level.

Montreal-Alexie Kovalev- Last year Kovalev showed us that he wasn't done yet in the NHL . This year with an improved team and much riding on the teams success . It will be interesting to see if Kovy can surpass his point totals from last year and maybe perhaps break the 100 point mark with the help of his line-mates.

Nashville-Dan Ellis- After supplanting Chris Mason as the starter of this team with his spectacular play last year . It will be interesting to see if he can continue that play this year with a Nashville team that has been predicited by many to miss the playoffs.

New Jersey-Zach Parise- Parise much like Roy from Buffalo , if on a slightly lesser scale has improved every season in the NHL. This year with a legitimate centre in Rolston to play with , it is expected their will be a sharp increase in his point totals.

New York Islanders-Kyle Opkoso- One of the few players at the moment Islander fans can afford to look smug about . With the new mantra of youth first Okposo should be able to flourish and develop to his potential . It remains to be seen how high that potential can be.

New York Rangers-Nikolai Zherdev-After setting career high's in points last year with Columbus . Zherdev was aquired to help replace the loss of several Ranger players. It will be this season that he is expected to play to his potential all season , and it is hoped for that he will break the 70 point plateau.

Ottawa Senators - Martin Gerber- With the departure of Emery this off-season . The starting reins have been firmly placed in Gerber's hands. It will be interesting to see with the lack of Emery's prescence if he will be able to regain the form he had during the beginning of last season.

Philedalphia Flyers-Simon Gagne- Like players like Bergeron and and Clark . Gagne is returning from season ending injury last season . It will be interesting to see if he can assimilate into the Flyers line up and re-produce at his old levels. Or at the least stay healthy.

Phoenix Coyotes-Olli Jokinen- Acquired from Florida in the off-season to help season out a young Coyotes team and provide additional scoring . It will be interesting to see if Jokinen can help be the last piece to take this team back to the playoffs . Or at the least play up to par in a much more agressive western conference.

Pittsburgh Penguins- Evengi Malkin- With the injury to crosby last year , malkin to control of the team effectively casting doubt on Sid being the number one player on the team . This year with Sid the kid completel healthy , it will be interesting to see if Malkin can still produce on the same level as when he did when Crosby was injured.

San Hose-Patrick Marleau-After a disapointing start to last season , marleau came alive again and started to produce . This year he will not be afforded such luxury again and wiill be expected by the fans that he produce at the levels he is capable of . Will be interesting to see if he delivers .

St.Louis-Brad Boyes- Last year Brad Boyes took the hockey world by storm and exploded for 43 on goals on a relatively low offencive team in St. Louis. He willl have a harder time this year doing it as he is going to be watched like a hawk by opposing team's defence and fans alike.

Tampa Bay-Matt Carle - After being acquired from San Hose in the Dan Boyle trade , Carle is in for a far rougher time in Tampa. With the departure of Boyle and his minute logging . Carle is going to be expected to help step in and fill those rather large skates left by Boyle . If he fails , Tampa's already shaky D could shatter .

Toronto- Mikahail Grabovski- Grabovski was acquired from the Canadiens for a 2nd round pick by Fletcher . After failing to gain a starting roster spot in the Canadiens organization , Grabovski is being given his chance to reach his potential under the leafs who have adopted a youth first mantra. it will be interesting to see if Mikhail can be turned into a effective 2nd liner with his increased minutes.

Vancouver-Pavel Demitra- Looked at as Vancouvers' biggest offencive signing . Demitra is going to be looked at to produce on a high level for his new team . If he doesn't then both he and management will be facing the wrath of the fans.

Washington-Jose Theodore- Every other aspect of the team possess's no question mark beside it , besides goaltending. Last year Theodore regained his championship form and was able to guide the Avs to the 2nd round of the playoffs. This year he will be expected to provide just as capable goaltending to a resurgent Washington team. It will be interesting to see if he can carry over the play of last year to a new team.

Well that about does it for me , love to hear comments upon what you guys think .

Until next time
Filed Under:   Divsion   Conference   team  
September 16, 2008 8:22 PM ET | Delete
good list. i agree with some of the "unexpected" picks you made.
September 16, 2008 9:52 PM ET | Delete
Chris Osgood? try Johan Franzen-can he repeat continue the torrid pace he set the 2nd half of laft season..
September 16, 2008 10:37 PM ET | Delete
I think you should change Vancouver's from Demitra to Bernier...
September 16, 2008 10:47 PM ET | Delete
I think the Canadiens player to watch is definitely Carey Price, especially after the meltdown in the playoffs....And I think with the Pens its got to be Maroslav(sp?) Satan, he has to replace Hossa's points on the top line
September 17, 2008 12:50 AM ET | Delete
Not a bad list, but I disagree about Raycroft thou, the guy's career is toast. I watched this guy too many times to think he can regain his form, he's backup material only. Budaj is the starter and Colarado would do well not to rotate. I also would agree with Price and Frazen both deserving some attention. I also think Avery is one to watch with Dallas, just to see if he has the same impact as New York, I'm not sure it will be as black and white in Dallas. In NYR he was on a soft team so he added instant toughness, now he's on a tough team, do they really need him? Will he make much different with Morrow and Ott already there?
September 17, 2008 2:06 PM ET | Delete
September 17, 2008 3:04 PM ET | Delete
Anaheim - Ryan Carter
September 17, 2008 3:06 PM ET | Delete
Montreal - Max Pac
September 17, 2008 3:22 PM ET | Delete
San Hose...haha....phonetic though...good list.
September 17, 2008 10:43 PM ET | Delete
Rangers- Markus Naslund, can he become the scorer that he once was
September 19, 2008 1:46 AM ET | Delete
Minn.- Gaborik- UFA after this year and still no contract extension, unless signed long term and/or named captain, he is worth watching closely.
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