With the lockout finally resolved, the Boston Bruins will now focus their energies on the fast and furious shortened season. To claim a third consecutive northeast division title, the Bruins will need significant contributions from every spot on their roster.
Still equipped with the same corps that hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2011, coach Claude Julien will be expected to lead his club to a deep playoff run.
With a brief training camp set to begin in the next few days, it is time to analyze each position on the Bruins' depth chart:
1. Patrice Bergeron
Over the past few seasons, Patrice Bergeron has established himself as one of the league's best two-way players. In 2011-12, he led the NHL in plus-minus rating (plus-36) and was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy, as the league's best defensive forward.
He will lead the way for the Bruins at the center position once again this year after a strong lockout campaign for Switzerland's HC Lugano. "Bergy" produced 29 points in just 21 games while in Europe.
2. David Krejci
Despite a demotion to Boston's second line in 2012, David Krejci is still a rock-solid No. 2 center. The 26-year-old will look to improve his offensive production after two consecutive 62-point seasons.
Krejci thrived during the lockout back home in the Czech Republic. He scored 16 goals and dished out 11 assists for the Extraliga's HC Pardubice. Krejci will need a big season to silence the din of trade rumors predicting his imminent exit from Boston.
3. Chris Kelly
Boston's third-line center had something of a breakout season in 2011-12. The versatile Kelly managed a superb plus-33 rating while posting a career-high 39 points.
The 32-year-old alternate captain will look to continue his upward trend in 2013, after posting nine lockout points in eight games for HC Red Ice in Switzerland's second division.
4. Gregory Campbell
Greg Campbell will never put up flashy numbers, but the gritty center is set to once again make a major contribution on Boston's energy line.
A monster in the defensive end, Campbell will be crucial to the Bruins' penalty kill in 2013.
5. Ryan Spooner
Ryan Spooner is enjoying an excellent rookie season with the AHL's Providence Bruins. He ranks third on the team with 20 points in 26 games.
Though he will likely remain with Providence for now, the talented 20-year-old will likely see spot duty in Boston.
1. Brad Marchand
After reaching the 20-goal plateau in each of his first two seasons, Brad Marchand is set to continue his growth in 2013.
The feisty Marchand should continue to build chemistry with linemmates Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin and could become an even more dangerous offensive threat. If he can control the impulsive side of his game, the sky could be the limit.
2. Milan Lucic
Though Milan Lucic regressed somewhat last season after scoring a career-high 30 goals in 2010-11, it should be remembered that the five-year veteran is only 24 years old.
The intimidating power-forward still has plenty of room to improve. If he can re-emerge as a dominant physical presence on the forecheck his production could reach career highs in 2013.
3. Daniel Paille
2002 first-round pick Daniel Paille never managed to become the offensive force the Buffalo Sabres thought he could have been coming out of juniors. However, he has become an invaluable depth forward for the Bruins since his arrival in 2009.
Paille managed just 15 points last season as a bottom-six forward, so a few more flashes of offensive talent would be much appreciated in 2013. During the lockout, Paille notched six points in eight games for Ilves-Tampere in Finland's SM-liiga.
4. Chris Bourque
The son of Bruins' legend Ray Bourque, Chris will finally try to establish himself as an NHl regular in 2013. The Boston University product has been a dominant force in the AHL for a number of years now, with 421 points in 424 games.
Despite his minor league success, Bourque has never caught on in the big leagues. With a team-leading 28 points in 32 games for Providence, he should get a chance at the TD Garden to start the season.
1. Tyler Seguin
Tyler Seguin is quickly emerging as the future face of the Boston franchise. The second overall pick in the 2010 draft led the Bruins in both goals (29) and points (67) last season and should continue to improve in 2013.
Seguin enjoyed a spectacular lockout stint with Switzerland's EHC Biel. Playing alongside Chicago's Patrick Kane, he surged to Swiss National League A's goal-scoring lead with 25 tallies. After compiling 40 points in just 29 games for Biel, Seguin looks completely prepared for a dominant NHL campaign.
2. Nathan Horton
Power-forward Nathan Horton's primary goal in 2013 will be to stay healthy. The winger missed 36 games in 2011-12 with recurring concussion problems, but he excelled when in the lineup with 32 points in 46 games.
With a contract extension from the cash-strapped Bruins unlikely, Horton will be playing for free-agent dollars and should be a major offensive force in 2013.
3. Rich Peverley
The versatile Rich Peverley will likely spend time at multiple positions in 2013, but he should start on the wing behind a healthy Nathan Horton. Had injuries not robbed him of 25 games last season, Peverley likely would have set a new career high in points. Despite playing in just 57 games, he put up the second-highest point total of his career with 42.
Peverley suited up for JYP in Finland's SM-liiga during the lockout, producing nine goals and 14 assists in 29 games. His overseas production portends another strong campaign.
4. Shawn Thornton
Shawn Thornton's game may lack nuance, but he remains one of the most intimidating forces in the league. Thornton's brand of smash-mouth pugilism won't change in 2013.
When the gloves need to be dropped, he will be the man to do it.
5. Jordan Caron
2009 first-round pick Jordan Caron's window to become an established Bruin may be closing. Expected to snatch a regular lineup spot in 2011-12, Caron played in just over half of the squad's games, producing a measly 15 points.
A superb penalty-killer, the gritty Caron's game isn't all about numbers, but his production will need to improve before he earns a bigger role. A tough season so far in Providence has seen Caron muster just eight points and a minus-six rating in 31 games. He will struggle to earn a roster spot early in the season.
1. Zdeno Chara
At 35, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara continues to be one of the NHL's best defensemen. The 6'9" Slovakian has finished as a Norris Trophy finalist in each of the last two seasons after winning the award in 2009.
Chara will arrive at camp in game shape following a stint in the Czech Republic with the KHL's HC Lev Praha. He will be the Bruins' leader on the ice and in the locker room once again this season.
2. Dennis Seidenberg
Since being acquired by the Bruins midway through the 2009-10 season, Dennis Seidenberg has established himself as one of the league's elite defensive defensemen.
Though he produced just 23 points last season, Seidenberg put his offensive skills on display during the lockout. He led the way for the Germany's Adler Mannheim with 20 points and a plus-15 rating in 26 games.
3. Johnny Boychuk
The 28-year-old Johnny Boychuk came into his own last season with a stellar plus-27 rating on the Bruins blue line.The physical defender with the massive slap shot could see even more ice time this season.
Boychuk played 15 games for Austria's EC Red Bull Salzburg during the lockout, ensuring that he will be ready to go for the new season.
4. Andrew Ference
With just one season remaining on his contract, Andrew Ference could be facing his final season in Boston. He will look to step his game up in his contract year.
After netting his highest point total since 2006 last season, the vocal Ference is set to be a difference-maker in Boston once again. He geared up for the season by playing 21 games with the Czech Extraliga's HC Ceske Budejovice, for whom he played during the 2004-05 lockout.
5. Dougie Hamilton
Rookie Dougie Hamilton will bear the burden of immense hype upon his long-awaited arrival in Boston, but the giant defender has what it takes to handle the pressure.
An offensive dynamo from the point, Hamilton leads all Ontario Hockey League defensemen with 41 points in just 32 games. A physical force at both ends of the ice, he is undeniably NHL-ready and could compete for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.
6. Adam McQuaid
Twenty-six-year-old defenseman Adam McQuaid could be in line for a breakout year on the Boston blue line, if he is healthy of course. The big mauler underwent two surgeries during the lockout to treat thoracic outlet syndrome, which caused a blood clot under his collarbone in early October.
McQuaid could be ready to go by opening night but only time will tell if he is prepared to keep up with well-conditioned teammates returning from overseas.
7. Aaron Johnson
The only free-agent addition with a shot to crack the Bruins' lineup in January, Aaron Johnson should see semi-regular action as Boston's seventh defender. He spent last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets and will not be expected to make a major contribution in 2013. However, he should do a serviceable job when called upon.
8. Torey Krug
An undersized defenseman with an enormous heart, Torey Krug made his Boston debut late last season. The former Michigan State captain has spent this season with Providence in the American Hockey League.
Despite his small stature, Krug is a gifted two-way defenseman who does a great job moving the puck and is not afraid to deliver a hit. He will crack the Boston lineup eventually. The only question is when.
1. Tuukka Rask
With Tim Thomas out of the picture, Tuukka Rask is set to lead the way for the first time since 2009-10, when he led the NHL in both save percentage and goals-against average as a rookie. The supremely gifted Finnish goalie should be up to the challenge.
Rask dominated in net for the Czech Republic's HC Plzen during the lockout, with a .924 save percentage and 2.11 goals-against average. The key to his success in 2013 will be consistency. At his best, he could be a dark-horse candidate for the Vezina Trophy.
2. Anton Khudobin
Anton Khudobin made 44 saves in his one and only start for Boston last season against the Ottawa Senators. The Bruins' new backup has plenty of talent but is very short on NHL experience.
He will need to prove early in the season that he can provide dependable relief for Rask. Khudobin posted a 2.96 goals-against average and .912 save percentage for the KHL's Atlant Moscow Oblast during the lockout.
3. Niklas Svedberg
After leading Swedish club Brynas IF to the Elitserien title last spring, Niklas Svedberg has been a revelation in Providence. The youngster ran away with the P-Bruins goaltending battle in the fall, outshining teammate Michael Hutchinson in every way.
He has 13 wins in 21 AHL starts with a .921 save percentage and a 2.45 goals-against average, and he will be first in line for a call-up if either Rask or Khudobin suffers an injury.