The 101st NHL season opens Wednesday night and there are endless story lines to follow. The Associated Press asked a handful of its writers to suggest some of the top things to watch as play gets underway:
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS. Adding Patrick Marleau gives a much-needed veteran presence to a youth-laden team that has designs on not simply making the playoffs, but winning several rounds.
JACK EICHEL. Having put contract talks behind him after agreeing to an eight-year, $80 million contract extension on Tuesday, it’s now on the Buffalo Sabres’ franchise player to begin performing to expectations — the team’s and his own. Eichel acknowledged his first two NHL seasons were “mediocre.”
MONTREAL CANADIENS. While much of the NHL is trending toward youth and speed, can the Habs continue winning with an aging,…