The new NHL season is not far away, and before you know it training camps will begin.
The Boston Bruins will be going into the season as defending Stanley Cup champions for the first time in 39 years, but will they repeat?
No team has repeated as Cup champs since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998.
There are also some players who had great years last year despite being at the end of their careers, like Red Wings defenseman and captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who at age 41 won his seventh Norris trophy.
Will he be able to have another stellar season in 2011-12?
Let's take a look at 50 bold predictions for the upcoming hockey season.
These predictions are in no particular order.
Nicholas Goss is a Boston Bruins featured columnist for Bleacher Report, and was the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston. Follow him on Twitter for NHL news and analysis. Follow @NicholasGoss35
Henrik Lundqvist is the one of the best goaltenders in the NHL, and has carried the New York Rangers for most of his career.
He has never won a Vezina in his brilliant career, and has rarely been nominated for the NHL’s award for most outstanding goaltender.
With a better team around him, Lundqvist’s stats will be better this season and he will win the award.
Steven Stamkos has scored 96 goals the past two seasons, and at 21 years old, is only going to get better.
Stamkos will take his talents to a new level this season and eclipse the 60-goal mark for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ryan Kesler is one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL. He has been nominated for the Selke Trophy three times, and won the award last season.
Kesler will again excel at both ends of the ice and win another Selke Trophy in 2012.
Tyler Seguin had a very good playoffs for the Boston Bruins last season, and he will carry that momentum into the regular season.
Seguin is the best offensive player on Boston, and will get more ice time than he did last year, and should be a regular on the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings have not reached a new contract this summer, and the Kings should not give their young defenseman a big new deal because he took a step back in 2011.
He had 19 fewer points in 2011 than he did in 2010, and will not improve that much next season.
Evander Kane has a unique skill set of speed and strength, and the talented young forward will become a household name in 2012.
Kane should score 25 goals this season, and bring excitement and winning back to Winnipeg.
Marc Savard is still suffering from concussion symptoms and did not play in the 2011 NHL playoffs for the Bruins on their Stanley Cup title run.
It’s unlikely he’ll be ready for the start of the 2012 season and he may even retire if his symptoms don’t improve.
With multiple concussions suffered, it may be best for Savvy to retire.
Tim Thomas had one of the best seasons ever for a goaltender last season, and he was the primary reason the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup.
It will be tough for Thomas to repeat his 2011 season, but he will.
Despite his age, Thomas is fully healthy and his desire and drive to play hockey is still very high. He also has his best defenseman coming back, and no longer has to deal with the pressure of bringing a Cup back to Boston.
Marian Gaborik is one of the best goal scorers in the NHL; his only problem is staying healthy.
But Gaborik will be healthy this season and may score 50 goals. He and Brad Richards will lead an improved New York Rangers offense back to the playoffs.
Calgary Flames star forward Jarome Iginla has been a top goal scorer for about decade, but has yet to win a Stanley Cup.
At age 34, he will need to be traded from Calgary to a Cup contender to win his first title because the Flames are not even playoff contenders.
After years of trade rumors surrounding Iginla, he will finally be traded in 2012.
Rick Nash is the most underrated player in the NHL, and is one of the best power forwards in hockey.
He is not given his due praise because he plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are normally one of the worst teams in the league.
But with an improved roster and a real shot at making the playoffs in 2012, Nash will show the hockey world he is a top-five forward in the game.
This is one prediction that would hurt the league, but I could see Sidney Crosby’s concussion history being an issue this season.
He missed much of 2011 recovering from a concussion, and if he comes back and suffers another one he could be lost for the season again.
Chris Pronger battled injuries last season, especially in the playoffs, and was not able to give the Philadelphia Flyers' blue line a shutdown presence.
Pronger should be ready for the start of the season, and will surprise people by playing in at least 70 games for the Flyers next season.
Pekke Rinne had a breakout season with the Nashville Predators in 2011, and was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
He was a major reason the Predators advanced to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs last year.
Rinne will prove he was not a one-year wonder in 2012, and will once again be a finalist for the Vezina.
Teemu Selanne is rehabbing from injury this summer and will not make a decision to return or not to the Anaheim Ducks until September, but it may be best for him to retire.
Despite scoring over 30 goals last season while battling injuries, Selanne is 41 years old and will not replicate his success from last season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs need Phil Kessel to become an elite forward this season if they hope to make the playoffs, and Kessel will prove his worth by scoring 40 goals.
He has the potential to be a 40-goal scorer, and on an improved Maple Leafs team ready to break out, Kessel will take his game to the next level.
Roberto Luongo’s terrible play in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins did not help his reputation as a premier NHL goalie, and it will hurt him next season too.
Luongo will be under so much pressure in 2012 that he will not be able to handle it, and will not be a Vezina Trophy candidate.
Detroit Red Wings captain and defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom is one of the best players in the NHL, and is a legend of the game.
Last year he won his seventh Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman, but at age 41, he will finally show his age next season and will start to decline.
Jeff Carter was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets from the Philadelphia Flyers just prior to the NHL draft this past June, and with a new team and new beginning, Carter will finally live up to his potential.
He will help lead the Blue Jackets back to the playoffs next season.
The Boston Bruins will have seven 20-goal scorers next season, as their young offensive talent continues to improve.
Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley will all score at least 20 goals.
Shea Weber will win the 2012 Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman.
Weber nearly won the award last season, and as the best all-around defenseman in hockey. Next year will be his year to capture the award.
Alexander Ovechkin will be on a mission next season as he looks to show people he can carry the Washington Capitals deep into the playoffs.
Ovechkin will help the Capitals dominate by scoring 60-plus goals in 2011-12.
Henrik Sedin is another player who will look to make up for his poor playoff performances last season, and he will help the Canucks do well again next season by dishing out 80 assists.
Sedin had 75 assists last year.
Guy Boucher is one of the best young coaches in the NHL, and he will win the Jack Adams Award as Coach of the Year in 2011-12.
He will help guide the Lightning to the Stanley Cup Finals next season.
Jonathan Toews is the leader of the Chicago Blackhawks and one of the best offensive players in the NHL.
After scoring 34 goals last season, Toews will take his scoring to new heights and put in 40 goals next year for the Blackhawks.
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t gone to the playoffs in many years, but they will end their drought in 2011-12.
The Maple Leafs have built a nice young roster, and they will improve enough to earn an eighth or seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Buffalo Sabres had a good summer by signing former Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and former Flyers forward Ville Leino, and will win the Northeast division next season.
The Sabres are a well-rounded team with a good offense, a solid defense and a fantastic goaltender in Ryan Miller.
The Montreal Canadiens were the sixth seed last season in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but after losing James Wisniewski this summer via free agency, they will not return to the playoffs.
The Canadiens will need to battle a better Toronto team, and a much-improved Rangers team in the standings next season.
The Philadelphia Flyers have made some major changes this season, and one of them was correcting their biggest weakness, which was goaltending.
The Flyers signed former Coyotes netminder Ilya Bryzgalov this summer, and he will give them a true No. 1 goalie to trust in the postseason.
The Flyers' combination of good offense, physical defense and proven goaltending will help them win the Atlantic division and the Presidents' Trophy.
The New York Rangers signed a No. 1 center this summer in Brad Richards, who was the most coveted free agent of the offseason.
Richards will team with Marion Gaborik and lead the Rangers offense to the playoffs and past the first round.
The New Jersey Devils has a poor season in 2011, and it won’t get better in 2012.
Without a lot of defensive talent, and an aging Martin Brodeur in goal, the Devils will have another lackluster season.
The Washington Capitals have struggled in the playoffs the last few seasons, and have been unable to get to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Capitals have been solid in the regular season the past few years, and in 2012 they will make a major trade near the deadline to shore up their roster for the playoffs.
Alexander Semin could be that player who is moved, maybe for some defensive talent.
The Winnipeg Jets have returned to the NHL, after the franchise did not perform well on and off the ice as the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Jets will bring in a new era of NHL hockey to Winnipeg and Canada, and their fans will come out in strong numbers to support their team.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were one game away from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals last season, and this year they will get over the hump and into the finals.
Forwards Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis will lead one of the league’s best offenses, and their young defensive talent will help them as well.
The Lightning will beat the Bruins in East finals.
This is a make-or-break season in St. Louis, and if the Blues miss the playoffs again there will be major changes to the organization.
The Blues have enough talent to make the playoffs, but without more defensive help, they won’t make the playoffs next season.
After finishing eighth in the Western Conference last season, only one year removed from a Stanley Cuo title, the Chicago Blackhawks will win the Central division in 2012.
The Blackhawks have kept their offensive core together and are not as bothered by salary cap restrictions as they were last season.
The Detroit Red Wings are a veteran-laden team and will make the West finals again in 2012.
The Red Wings have lost to the San Jose Sharks in the second round the past two seasons, but with a talented offense and an improving young goaltender in Jimmy Howard, Detroit will make the West finals again.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have made the playoffs one time in franchise history (2008-09), but will make the playoffs this season.
The Blue Jackets added forward Jeff Carter to the offense to help captain Rick Nash, and added defenseman James Wisneiwski in free agency.
Columbus will be much improved this season.
The Vancouver Canucks will not win their first Stanley Cup in team history in 2012, and will not even make the Western Conference finals.
The Canucks lost defenseman Christian Ehrhoff via free agency, and have to deal with injury concerns involving Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond.
The Phoenix Coyotes have had ownership issues for a few years now, and with struggling attendance and interest in Arizona, it’s best that the franchise return to Canada.
Quebec has been a rumored destination for the Coyotes, and there’s no question the city desperately wants an NHL team again.
The Los Angeles Kings added former Flyers captain Mike Richards via trade this summer, who will give them another elite center along with Anze Kopitar.
The Kings also have good goaltending and a deep defensive corps, and will make the second round of the Western Conference finals next season.
Joe Thornton is one of those players who doesn't live up to expectations at playoff time, but last season he played very well in the postseason while battling injuries.
Thornton will finally lead the Sharks to a Stanley Cup title in 2011-12, and will win the Conn Smythe Award as playoff MVP.
Steven Stamkos will earn his new contract by helping the Tampa Bay Lightning reach the Stanley Cup Finals next season, and his playoff-leading goal scoring will be a primary reason for his team's success.
The Calgary Flames will not be in the playoff race next season, and they will trade their best players to contending teams in hopes of acquiring young talent for the future.
Forward Jarome Iginla and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff will be two star players traded.
Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid is quickly becoming a shutdown defenseman, and will become a very good player in 2011-12.
McQuaid played meaningful minutes in the playoffs last year, and was rewarded with a three-year contract extension earlier this summer.
The rebuilding of the Colorado Avalanche will last a bit longer as the team will finish last in the Western Conference next season.
The Avs did not make any significant signings in the summer, and will rely on young talent to carry them.
Led by captain Eric Staal, who is one of the quietest superstars, the Carolina Hurricanes will return to the playoffs next season.
The Hurricanes re-signed defenseman Joni Pitkanen this summer, and signed free-agent defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who will really help their power play.
The Florida Panthers are a joke. They hardly ever make the playoffs, they don't spend money and they generate little interest in NHL hockey in South Florida.
This team will be relocated after the season, hopefully to Quebec.
The San Jose Sharks have not lived up to expectations the last five seasons by failing to impress in the postseason after great regular-season runs.
But they’ve come closer the last two seasons, as they’ve made the West finals, but won just one of the nine games in those series.
However, the Sharks will win the Stanley Cup next season, and Joe Thornton will lift the Cup and cement his legacy.