The 1995-96 season brings a full schedule and regular visits by Eastern teams, unlike last year's shortened season. Here's a refresher course:
The Quebec Nordiques had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season but that wasn't enough for owner Marcel Aubut, who gave up trying to force the financially strapped province of Quebec to pay for a new arena. In stepped Comsat, which gave Aubut a pile of cash to look the other way while it carried the franchise to Denver. Renamed the Colorado Avalanche, the franchise is a favorite to win the Pacific Division title, making it that much harder for the Mighty Ducks and Kings to get into the playoffs.
The New York Rangers, whose attempt to defend their Stanley Cup championship failed miserably, traded for former King Luc Robitaille. Adam Graves and Alexei Kovalev are expected to score more and the Rangers hope Brian Leetch and Mark Messier come back strong after an up-and-down season.
The Legion of Doom line made big noises for the Philadelphia Flyers last season, with Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg being credited for returning the franchise to the elite level.
Mario Lemieux returns to the Pittsburgh Penguins after taking 1995 off to recover from back injuries and treatment for Hodgkins' disease. But he returns with the plan to skip long trips. Jaromir Jagr has developed into a dominating skater. Joining him are Sergei Zubov and Peter Nedved.
Claude Lemieux has a Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff most valuable player) for his work last spring for the New Jersey Devils. Scott Stevens anchors the defense for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Kevin Stevens and Joe Mullen join Ray Bourque, Cam Neely with the Boston Bruins.
The Washington Capitals need plenty of help from Joe Juneau and Jim Carey.
Brendan Shanahan moves from St. Louis and Mike Keenan's dog house to raise the talent level of the Hartford Whalers.
If the Florida Panthers decide to stick with John Vanbiesbrouck in goal, that will solve one of the team's problems.
Pat LaFontaine and Alexei Zhitnik give the Buffalo Sabres some hope for the near future.
New Coach Mike Milbury is the biggest name to join the New York Islanders.
Former King Dan Quinn joins the Ottawa Senators, who are locked in a contract dispute with Alexei Yashin and going nowhere in negotiations with top draft pick Bryan Berard.