THE FEB. 26 trade deadline will be much less frenzied than last season. Given the salary cap, league parity, the many contracts with no-trade clauses and teams locking up their potential free agents, one G.M. estimated that he and his peers spend 80% less time discussing trades than they used to.
STEVEN STAMKOS, now with Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League, will be the first player selected in June's NHL draft. The 6'1", 180-pound center's game is complete, and the puck explodes off his stick.
THE ISLANDERS' Rick DiPietro, 26, will be among the NHL's top three goalies by the end of the year. His poise and maturity have finally caught up to his seemingly limitless talent.