Outlook: Shanahan and talented center Geoff Sanderson save the Whale, pushing Hartford back into the playoffs. Eighth in the conference.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Breakthrough: Defenseman Roman Hamrlik will justify his No. 1 overall selection in the 1992 draft. He might be a Norris Trophy finalist on a better team.
Big News: Although Tampa Bay's top rookie is center Daymond Langkow (5'10", 170), even the Lightning is getting larger. The players in camp were an average of an inch taller and 12 pounds heavier than the players in Tampa Bay's first camp three years ago.
Outlook: The Lightning has some good young players like Hamrlik and forward Chris Gratton, who hasn't progressed as quickly as hoped. If goalie Daren Puppa is the best goalie in the state, the Lightning will just miss the last playoff spot. Ninth in the conference.
New York Islanders
Moving Man: In the past 18 months new Islander coach Mike Milbury has worked for the Boston Bruins, Boston College and ESPN. Now he has a five-year deal with the Islanders, while general manager Don Maloney is working on the last year of his contract. Milbury's résumé might have an additional entry soon.
Hole at Center: Late last season the Islanders traded Pierre Turgeon for Kirk Muller, and now they are looking to deal Muller, a center-left wing, for help up the middle. They also lost unrestricted free agent Ray Ferraro to the Rangers.
Outlook: Milbury will bring enthusiasm, but he will need patience. Tenth in the conference.