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: 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.
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.