Hockey is almost upon us.
Although the 2011-2012 NHL season is still four weeks away, training camp is just getting into full swing for many teams, and the preseason is just around the corner.
With a new club joining the league for the first time since 2000, there are more eyes than ever on hockey this September as all 30 squads take the ice for the first time in quite a while. Winnipeg's return to the league isn't the only thing to watch for, however; the rest of the preseason is also sure to raise some eyebrows.
Despite the lack of a Ilya Kovalchuk-esque saga, quite a few top-class players still remain as restricted free agents at the moment—will they sign in time for the training camp opener? Additionally, this month might give us a glimpse at how will some of the biggest FA's of the summer will mesh with their new teams.
A number of roster spot battles are starting up around the league, too, which is always something to keep an eye on before the real season starts. And, of course, a few key games stand out on the schedule that might deserve a tune-in.
To be brought up to date on all of the questionable players, prospect battles and intriguing matchups to watch for this preseason, just click the "begin slideshow" key below.