Previews, predictions for all 31 NHL teams

How many goals will the Vegas Golden Knights be celebrating this season, really? Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN.com looks at what to expect from each NHL team this season, including biggest changes for each, why each can win or lose, goaltending rating and predicted finish.

Metropolitan Division | Atlantic Division | Central Division | Pacific Division

Metropolitan Division

Carolina Hurricanes

Clearly, the Hurricanes think they're ready to make noise in the top-heavy Metropolitan Division. Justin Williams, who won his first of three Stanley Cups with the Hurricanes, said it's a big reason he came back: "This is a team on the rise and a team that will surprise a lot of people."

Columbus Blue Jackets

Something special happened when the Blue Jackets ran off 16 straight wins last season: They became believers in themselves and coach John Tortorella. Those good vibes were doused in a five-game loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, but if certain players can build off breakout seasons, the Jackets will be back challenging the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top seed in the East.

New Jersey Devils

After finishing with the worst record in the East, the Devils have nowhere to go but up. How high they can go and how long it will take them could depend on a gifted 18-year-old Swiss forward who fortuitously fell into their laps. By winning the draft lottery and taking Nico Hischier with the first pick in June, the Devils took their first step toward respectability.

New York Islanders

There is probably only one thing that will keep John Tavares -- who is less than 10 months away from unrestricted free agency -- in Brooklyn, and that's a legitimate chance to win a Stanley Cup. A lot has to go right to put that process in motion. Straight-talking coach Doug Weight, who had the "interim" tag taken off after getting the Isles within one win of the playoffs, is a good start.

New York Rangers

The Rangers should get enough offense from Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider to remain one of the top five teams in the East, but once again, the onus will fall on Henrik Lundqvist, 35. He looked vulnerable during stretches last season, and his goals-against average has swelled in each of his past two seasons. So for the Rangers to be good this season, they'll need Lundqvist to be great.

Philadelphia Flyers

In what has been a revolving door of mediocrity, the Flyers' goaltending situation might be no better with newcomer Brian Elliott than it was last season with Steve Mason. The Flyers simply don't have enough reliable forwards, defensemen and goaltenders to make a serious run this season, but they are certainly headed in the right direction.

Pittsburgh Penguins

How can a team lose a three-time Stanley Cup-winning goalie, a trio of clutch playoff forwards and three reliable defensemen and still have a shot at becoming the first team to three-peat as Cup champs since the New York Islanders won four in a row from 1980 to 1983? Coach Mike Sullivan is about to find out.

Washington Capitals

Two years ago, general manager Brian MacLellan acknowledged that the Caps had a two-year window to win a Stanley Cup with the roster he helped assemble. With that roster torn apart and new responsibilities placed on unproven forwards and a revamped blue line that could feature two rookies and an aging Brooks Orpik, it's reasonable to suggest the Caps will take a step back this season.

Atlantic Division

Boston Bruins

It's not a very good summer when the biggest move you make as a general manager is re-signing someone you couldn't afford to lose. But that's exactly what happened with Don Sweeney and the Bruins this offseason, which ended with David Pastrnak agreeing to a six-year, $40 million contract just before training camp. Exactly where that leaves the Bruins won't make fans in Boston happy.

Buffalo Sabres

No team shook things up more in the offseason than the Sabres, who replaced general manager Tim Murray with two-time Stanley Cup winner Jason Botterill, and head coach Dan Bylsma with former Nashville Predators assistant and former Sabre Phil Housley. But that was just the beginning.

Detroit Red Wings

There was a time when unrestricted free agents wanted nothing more than to be part of one of the NHL's most storied franchises. Those days are over. Even the most ardent Red Wings fans seem to understand that Detroit is no longer one of players' top destinations (even with the new Little Caesars Arena).

Florida Panthers

A season of messy moves set the Panthers back big time, but with Dale Tallon again in charge, the ship seems to be turned around. Rough seas could still be ahead, however, especially if the health of star D-man Aaron Ekblad comes into question.

Montreal Canadiens

Essentially, a team that won the Atlantic Division last season but fell to the New York Rangers in the first round replaced forward Alexander Radulov and defenseman Andrei Markov with Jonathan Drouin and Karl Alzner. And most hockey fans would make that trade in a second.

Ottawa Senators

When a team does not get even marginally better in an offseason, it means it has gotten worse. The Senators needed to make a play for a 25-to-30-goal scorer, and that didn't happen. That will put additional pressure on a group of top-six forwards that failed to land anyone in the top 35 in goals.

Tampa Bay Lightning

General manager Steve Yzerman could have overreacted to one of the most disappointing seasons of his managerial career by firing head coach Jon Cooper and reassembling his roster. Instead, Yzerman did more adding than subtracting, hoping the addition of a four-time Stanley Cup winner (winger Chris Kunitz) and a gritty defenseman (Dan Girardi) will be enough to put his team back into the playoffs conversation.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Unexpectedly early success and a big-name free-agent signing have Maple Leafs fans thinking large this season. So the biggest challenge for coach Mike Babcock will be keeping his young team grounded in reality and motivated for an entire season. "We have expectations of our own," William Nylander said. "We want to go just as far as the fans do."

Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks

Trading away one of the best scoring wingers of the past two seasons to bring back a grinder is a huge gamble. So, the question is, can Patrick Kane remember how to score without Artemi Panarin? And who is going to replace Marian Hossa?

Colorado Avalanche

When you're the worst team in the league by a wide margin, the best course of action is to do very little in the offseason. No? Well, that's exactly what the Avalanche did, leading many to wonder what really is going on in the Mile High City.

Dallas Stars

Few teams made more splashy moves this offseason than the Stars, a direct response to dropping dramatically in the standings one year after winning the Central, signing a Vezina Trophy-winning goalie and a monster winger who might just help complete the most formidable line in the league.

Minnesota Wild

Was last season's rise the first step toward a return to glory or merely the result of a new-coach bump? The health of Zach Parise and the consistency of Devan Dubnyk will determine the answer.

Nashville Predators

When you are two wins away from winning the Stanley Cup, you don't really need to do much to get better. But the big unknown is whether P.K. Subban and the goaltending can survive the absence of a key teammate to injury.

St. Louis Blues

A couple of minor tweaks means management is willing to give coach Mike Yeo a chance to get the most out of the team in his first full season behind the bench. But are the goaltending and offense up to the task?

Winnipeg Jets

The Jets have the tools -- big, talented forwards, puck-moving D -- to be a big deal, and yet they struggled last season to break loose in the tough Central. So, is this the season Paul Maurice's team puts it all together?

Pacific Division

Anaheim Ducks

Bringing back a core that might have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final had No. 1 goaltender John Gibson stayed healthy, the Ducks have their sights set on taking the next step. But after years of being close, is this the year they go all the way?

Arizona Coyotes

Significant changes were made in the desert since the end of last season, including bringing in a new coach and a new goalie, and saying goodbye to a longtime captain. But will all that be enough to change the results?

Calgary Flames

After years of patchwork, the Flames appear to have finally found their goaltender. Combined with a swift-skating defense and some firepower up front, this could be the year. Now only if their provincial rival wasn't so good. When have we heard that before?

Edmonton Oilers

After spending the past two seasons putting his imprint on the team, general manager Peter Chiarelli decided not to mess with success entering the 2017 offseason. But do the Oilers have enough to get past the second round?

Los Angeles Kings

The team that missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons remains largely unchanged. The biggest alterations came behind the bench and in the front office. But in today's NHL, is that enough to get the Kings back into the playoffs?

San Jose Sharks

With the possible exception of the Chicago Blackhawks, there might not be a more prolific veteran core in the Western Conference. Even with Patrick Marleau gone, the Sharks are led by an experienced nucleus that has demonstrated remarkable consistency over the past several years. But having an experienced core means their window is closing.

Vancouver Canucks

The Sedin twins have made it clear they're not going anywhere. But the Canucks need some help to avoid finishing last in the division again. What's GM Jim Benning's next move? Quandry!

Vegas Golden Knights

When it comes to the NHL's newest franchise, everything is new: the front office, the coaching staff, the roster, the logo, the building. All of which makes this new chapter in league history so exciting. With a roster assembled from scratch, the NHL's newest team will be difficult for the opposition to scout. But will it be any good?