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: Beau Bennett scored Pittsburgh's lone goal Monday against Detroit, netting a wrister from 30 feet. Analysis: The winger ranks near the top of his team in terms of skill, but he's skated on a line with Steve Downie and Brandon Sutter in the early going. Beau Bennett may have to wait for an injury to secure a top-six spot and a place on the first-unit power play, but it's a good bet he ends up on a top-two line -- provided he stays healthy.
News: Eric Fehr finished with a goal and an assist, along with two shots in 17:12 of ice time during Monday's 5-4 loss to the Flyers. Analysis: Eric Fehr played on a line with Marcus Johansson, one of the contenders for the team's second-line center job, and rookie Jakub Vrana. Given his versatility, Fehr will be a valuable player for the Capitals this season, but it is not yet clear whether he will get top-six forward minutes yet. Fehr spent most of last season centering Jason Chimera and Joel Ward, and although it was a productive unit, the team looks like they are moving him back to wing for the 2014-2015 season. Unless he becomes a fixture alongside the likes of Alex Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom, Fehr's fantasy value is likely limited to deeper leagues.
News: Troy Brouwer finished with a goal and an assist to go along with three SOG in 18:00 of ice-time during the Capitals' 5-4 loss to the Flyers on Monday. Analysis: Both of Troy Brouwer's points came on the power-play. He played on an even-strength line with Evgeny Kuznetsov, believed to have the inside track on the team's second-line center job. It's looking like Brouwer will be a fixture on a scoring line in DC this coming season, giving the power-forward some sleeper potential in deeper leagues.
News: Alexander Semin will be held out of the Canes' second preseason game Tuesday against the Sabres, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer reports. Analysis: Alexander Semin had offseason surgery on his wrist, and the move to limit his preseason game action by new coach Bill Peters is reportedly just a cautionary move. So far, there has been no word of Semin re-injuring his wrist in training camp, so we fully expect him to start the regular season on schedule at this point.
News: Adam McQuaid participated in Sunday's team scrimmage, a sign that he's fully recovered from his May right ankle surgery, Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald reports. Analysis: An array of second-half injuries limited Adam McQuaid to just 32 games last season, but the physical rearguard should be ready to go for the start of the 2014-15 campaign. Though he's now healthy, the Bruins could transition McQuaid into more of a seventh defenseman role this season, with young guns Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Kevan Miller all on track to earn close to full-time roles along the Bruins' blue line.
News: Anton Khudobin will start the Canes' second preseason game Tuesday against the Sabres, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer reports. Analysis: The Canes lost 4-3 to the Blue Jackets on Sunday with Cam Ward starting in net, however Ward did receive a positive review from new head coach Bill Peters. Given Ward's hefty contract, along with the length of his tenure in Raleigh, Anton Khudobin will likely have to stand on his head in the preseason to have a real shot at opening the season as the team's No. 1 netminder.
News: Dave Bolland (ankle) is expected to center the Panthers' third line this season, Harvey Fialkow of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. Analysis: The five-year, $27.5 million contract the Panthers gave Dave Bolland in the offseason seems like a steep overpay for a third-liner, especially for a player coming off a significant ankle injury. The Panthers have more talent on the wing than most believe, but the move from Toronto to South Florida likely won't dramatically jumpstart his production. That being said, he has shown the capability of producing around 40 points in the past, so a decent buy-low window could exist for him late in deep-league drafts.
News: Cam Ward started the Hurricanes' first preseason game Sunday, allowing three goals on 13 shots in a 4-3 loss to Columbus. He played roughly half the game, giving way to junior prospect Alex Nedeljkovic in the second period. Analysis: The good news is, all three goals came on quality shots by the Jackets, and Cam Ward earned a positive review from his coach, Bill Peters. "I thought Wardo' was good," Peters said. "On the goals we gave up, there's nothing the goalies can do. We've got to be better defensively than that." Overall, this was probably not the preseason start Ward was looking for, but it doesn't sound like it has hurt his chances at starting the season as the Canes' No. 1 goalie. In the meantime, however, Anton Khudobin will get a look in the Canes' second preseason scrimmage Tuesday against the Sabres.
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.