Expectations are high for every NHL club entering a new season. Playoff contenders aspire to win the Stanley Cup. Rebuilding teams look for signs of real improvement and the anticipation of reaching the postseason. Clubs that struggled the previous season hope for a bounce-back performance.
Not every team, like the six on our list, will see their wishes fulfilled when the season comes to an end.
Some, like the Florida Panthers, are coming off one of the best seasons in franchise history. Others, like the Vegas Golden Knights, are former Cup contenders trying to regain their once-dominant form.
In this slideshow, we'll examine the factors that could lead to disappointment in 2022-23. We've chosen three teams from each conference. You can express your views on this topic in the comments section below.
The Florida Panthers enter 2022-23 coming off their best regular season performance in franchise history. Averaging a league-leading 4.11 goals per game, they finished with a team record of 58 wins and 122 points to win their first-ever Presidents' Trophy.
This is still a very good hockey team, one that should qualify for the 2023 playoffs. However, they will find it difficult to build upon last season's dominant performance.
The departures of Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar will be a big factor. They were traded to the Calgary Flames on July 23 for power forward Matthew Tkachuk. Both played significant roles in the club's remarkable effort last season.
One of the league's top playmaking forwards, Huberdeau was the Panthers' leading scorer with 115 points. Tkachuk will bring more goal-scoring punch and an agitating physical style that was absent during their second-round playoff exit to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Still, they'll miss Huberdeau's set-up skills.
A late-blooming puck-moving defenseman, Weegar enjoyed a career-best 44-point season in 2021-22. The Panthers didn't find a suitable replacement via the trade and free agent markets to offset his departure. Gustav Forsling is projected to fill that left-side slot on their top defense pairing.
Forwards Mason Marchment and Claude Giroux will also be missed. Marchment, 27, was an energetic physical winger who signed with the Dallas Stars. Acquired at the 2022 trade deadline, the versatile Giroux tallied 23 points in 18 regular season games for the Panthers. He signed with the Ottawa Senators as a free agent on July 13.
Goaltenders Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight have yet to prove they can carry the Panthers on a deep playoff run. The 33-year-old Bobrovsky has won just two playoff series in his 12-year NHL career. Knight, 21, has appeared in just two postseason games.