Special Teams: In what figures to be a penalty-filled year, the Sharks must find a power play. They ranked next-to-last with a man advantage in 1995, and their penalty-killing was also in the bottom half of the league.
Outlook: Director of player personnel Chuck Grillo says, "The next step for us is to get to a point where winning in the playoffs is no big deal." San Jose still has to worry about sliding out of the playoffs. Eighth in the conference.
Best of the Smallest: Theo Fleury is unique in the NHL: a 5'6" dynamo who plays like he's 6'5", taking on the opponent's biggest forward to rev up his team. He can use his stick like a sword or a wand, and no one outside of Jaromir Jagr is a more thrilling one-on-one player to watch.
The Goalie: Trevor Kidd's splendid rookie year justified the decision to trade Mike Vernon after the 1993-94 season. Kidd is on the verge of becoming one of the elite young goalies in hockey.
Bush League: The Flames' last playoff series win came in 1989, the first year of the Bush Administration.
Outlook: Calgary is ripe for a free fall. Its second-and third-best players, forwards Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk, are injury-prone. The Flames also lost Robert Reichel to a German team and free-agent Joel Otto to Philadelphia. Ninth in the conference.
Anaheim Mighty Ducks
Impact Rookie: Chad Kilger, the first forward taken in the 1995 draft, will center Paul Kariya and Todd Krygier on Anaheim's first line. Coach Ron Wilson is calling it the Special K line. Kilger already is the hardest hitter on the team.