News: Mikael Backlund's abdominal strain is worse than originally thought, Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald reports. Analysis: Mikael Backlund was originally expected to be ready for the start of the regular season, but head coach Bob Hartley stated Monday that he's worried about Backlund's status. The team hasn't given any sort of timetable for the center's return, so keep an eye out for an update in the next few days.
News: Michal Neuvirth is set to battle Jhonas Enroth in training camp for top goaltending duties for the Sabres, John Vogl of the Buffalo News reports. Analysis: Michal Neuvirth, who was acquired by the Capitals at the trade deadline last season, only appeared in two games with his new squad before a hip injury ended his season. He's now fully recovered from the issue, and should see a roughly even workload in training camp while the coaching staff looks to proclaim a victor. Both goalies have similar career numbers which confer neither an advantage, but Neuvirth's familiarity with new goalie coach Arturs Irbe could work in his favor. Under Irbe's watch in Washington in 2010-11, Neuvirth enjoyed the best season of his career, going 27-12-4 with a 2.45 GAA and .914 save percentage. Don't expect the Sabres to announce their No. 1 netminder until late in training camp, with the team possibly waiting up until the morning skate of their Oct. 9 regular season opener against Columbus.
News: Tom Gilbert looks like he'll pair up with Andrei Markov on defense this season, Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette reports. Analysis: Inked by the Habs to a two-year contract in July, Tom Gilbert has been next to Markov since Day 1 in camp, and the pair has seemed to click. Though both blueliners are puck-movers rather than true stay-at-home defensemen, the two vets are both savvy enough to know when to take risks and when to play it safe. It may be difficult for Gilbert to improve upon the 28 points he accrued in 73 games with the Panthers last season, but he shouldn't have much difficulty finishing on the positive side in plus/minus rating now that he's a member of the Eastern Conference runner-ups.
News: Marcus Foligno, who underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason, doesn't appear to be limited in training camp, NHL.com reports. Analysis: Though Marcus Foligno suited up for 74 games last season, the shoulder injury seemed to hinder his performance throughout, as he essentially matched his scoring output from the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, despite suiting up for 27 additional games. Foligno is anxious to test out the surgically-repaired shoulder in the preseason, and it should only take a few games for him to settle back into a rhythm. The Sabres showed their faith in Foligno by giving him a two-year extension in the offseason, and with better health entering the season, he'll have a decent shot at emerging as a 30-point scorer for the Sabres.
News: Chris Kunitz is dealing with an undisclosed injury and didn't suit up in Monday's preseason opener, Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Analysis: Chris Kunitz joined Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the press box, as the team brass decided it was in the best interest of their battered stars to rest. Kunitz first acquired the injury during Saturday's practice, but it's not believed to be an ailment that would jeopardize his availability for the start of the regular season.
News: Joffrey Lupul is healthy following arthroscopic knee surgery in April, the Toronto Star reports. Analysis: The season-ending knee procedure was one of several maladies that ailed Joffrey Lupul last season, with a bum foot and a groin strain also contributing to his 13 missed games. The winger has been bitten hard by the injury bug the last several years, making it difficult to justify investing too much into him on draft day. That being said, when he's healthy, he'll likely be plugged into a top-six role for the Leafs, which should allow him to produce respectably on a per-game basis.
News: Travis Zajac is slated to serve as the Devils' No. 1 center this season, with Michael Cammalleri and Jaromir Jagr flanking him on either side, NHL.com reports. Analysis: Both Travis Zajac and Jagr showed excellent continuity in their first season together, but unreliable offense on the left side too often forced the Devils to rely on the defense to win games. While Cammalleri represents an upgrade over the options the Devils trotted out at left wing, his presence is unlikely to vault Zajac much higher than the 50-point level. Zajac is a useful two-way player for the Devils, but lacks the offensive creativity of most No. 1 centers, making him comparably weaker to his peers in most fantasy categories. Still, he'll probably average around 20 minutes of ice time and compile around 15 to 20 goals and 30 assists, giving him some value as a depth forward in certain leagues.
News: After playing a career-low 28 games in 2013-14 due to ankle and back injuries and a sports hernia, Jared Boll is fully healthy in the early stages of training camp, Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Post-Dispatch reports. Analysis: Jared Boll has assumed duties as the Blue Jackets' primary enforcer since entering the NHL in 2007-08, but it appears coach Todd Richards is inclined to have Boll cut back on his fighting tendencies after a season marred by injuries. While he'll maintain an aggressive approach on the checking line, the 28-year-old Boll may look to pick his spots when it comes to hitting. A conscious effort to reign in his agitating style would be helpful in lengthening Boll's career, but if his penalty minutes and hit totals continue to plunge further downward, it may be difficult for offer much fantasy value.
News: Teuvo Teravainen was held out of Monday's preseason opener as a precaution due to an upper-body injury he sustained over the weekend, ESPN Chicago reports. Analysis: Teuvo Teravainen was leveled on a check from defenseman Cam Barker in Saturday's practice, resulting in him missing Sunday's scrimmages. Coach Joel Quenneville dismissed the injury as anything serious, and suggested Teravainen would be able to play in Tuesday's exhibition match. The 20-year-old is considered among the best prospects in hockey, but Chicago's considerable depth on the wings probably means he won't remain with the big club for good until 2015-16.
News: Viktor Stalberg sustained a lower-body injury in Monday's practice, Eric Stromgren of The Tennessean reports. Analysis: It looked like the injury was related to Viktor Stalberg's right leg, as he was attempting to keep weight off the limb while he left the ice. The Predators will reevaluate his condition Tuesday, but he'll likely be held out for that night's preseason opener against the Lightning regardless of what the tests indicate. Stalberg was already entering the season with something to prove after he was a major disappointment in Year 1 in Nashville, when he totaled just 18 points in 70 games. The injury could end up hurting his chances of reclaiming a top-six role, and at this point, he's probably best left undrafted in all but the deepest of leagues.