Five players on their last chance

1. Dany Heatley, Anaheim Ducks -- For a guy who opened the playoffs as a healthy scratch last spring, this is about as good an opportunity as you can ask for. The veteran forward signed a one-year contract worth $1 million with the Ducks this summer, and it's a low-risk gamble by Anaheim general manager Bob Murray. The Ducks would love to find a permanent winger to play with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and Heatley immediately got that opportunity to start the preseason (but then suffered a groin injury that will keep him out at least a week). There's reason to believe he can rekindle his game with Anaheim's top line. For one, he's playing with two of the best players in the world and there's a track record of success together with Team Canada in the world championships. On the flip side, Heatley scored only 12 goals last season in 76 games and was a minus-18. His possession numbers were awful, with the Wild controlling only 44.5 percent of even strength shot attempts when he was on the ice -- something the Ducks should be wary of, considering their own deficiencies in that department. Heatley showed life in the playoffs after he drew into the lineup, with six points in 11 games, production the Ducks noticed while scouting the series against Colorado.

2. Devin Setoguchi, Calgary Flames -- Like Heatley, Setoguchi's career stalled after leaving San Jose. In his final season with the Sharks, a then 24-year-old Setoguchi had 22 goals and 41 points in 2010-11. Solid production. He hasn't cracked 20 goals since and had only 11 last season in Winnipeg. Calgary offered him a lifeline this summer with a one-year deal worth $750,000, and early indications are that his conditioning is better than it was in the past. He's a guy ready to stop the career free-fall, a career that peaked with 31 goals in his first full NHL season (2008-09). Some of Setoguchi's issues have been self-inflicted, but he also didn't get a lot of breaks last season. His PDO, which is a shooting percentage metric, was just .982 last season, which suggests he didn't have a lot of luck. The Jets shot only 5.92 percent at even strength when he was on the ice, which doesn't help the point totals. He still has a good shot and, if he fills some of the power-play void created by Mike Cammalleri's departure, a bounce-back season could be coming.

3. David Booth, Toronto Maple Leafs -- The Leafs hopes they've found another Mason Raymond on their hands in the C.S. Lewis-quoting, airplane-flying hunter Booth. And perhaps they have. Injuries filled his time in Vancouver and he hasn't played a full 82-game season since 2010-11; things aren't getting off on the right foot as he suffered a foot fracture in preseason that is expected to keep him out at least four weeks. He comes to Toronto newly married and in a good place physically. The former Michigan State Spartan put up strong possession numbers last season in Vancouver, with the Canucks controlling 51.9 percent of the even-strength shot attempts when he was on the ice. He managed that even while starting only 45 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. It's a low-risk signing, and at 29, Booth should have a few good years left.

4. Evgeni Nabokov, Tampa Bay Lightning -- General managers don't seem to have a big appetite to spend money on older goalies whose best years are in the past. Martin Brodeur, one of the best to ever play the game, can't find work. Ilya Bryzgalov is on a tryout in Minnesota, and Tim Thomas kind of just disappeared somewhere. Nabokov has seen his numbers decline every season since leaving the Sharks. With the Islanders, his save percentage started at .914 in 2011-12, dropped to .910 the following season and finally fell to .905 last season in 40 games. The Islanders saw enough, revamping their goaltending this offseason by bringing in Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson. The move to Tampa on a one-year deal figures to mean a dramatic cut in workload, which is probably a good thing at this point in Nabokov's career. He provides veteran insurance in case of a Ben Bishop injury, but barring that, Bishop will get a majority of the work. If Nabokov struggles at all, the Lightning have organizational talent and depth in goal with the ultra-talented Andrei Vasilevski and Latvian Olympic hero Kristers Gudlevskis waiting for opportunity.

5. Mike Ribeiro, Nashville Predators -- It's never a good sign when a team that isn't overflowing with offense and operates on a budget would pay a potential playmaker to not to be around. That was the situation with Coyotes management and Ribeiro when off-ice issues ended his time in the desert only one year after he signed a four-year contract worth $22 million. The Predators, in an attempt to keep up with Western Conference rivals, bolstered themselves down the middle with short-term signings of veteran centers Ribeiro, Derek Roy and Olli Jokinen. Of the three, Ribeiro might be in the best position to put up strong numbers. GM David Poile spent a couple of days getting to know Ribeiro personally before officially bringing him aboard in Nashville after liking what he heard. Despite how it all went down in Arizona, Ribeiro's former coach still believes in him. "He's in a good spot right now," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett told ESPN.com. "You take his passing ability with Shea Weber standing there with his stick in the back and you know James Neal is going to shoot the puck. That could be really good."