* The one player I insist has the MOST to prove in the upcoming season is On-Again-Off-Again Thomas Vanek.

* Nobody knows this better than the Minnesota high command; happy to land the sharpshooter and the Habs happy to unload the sometimes-malingerer; as proven in the playoffs.

* By far the most overlooked terrific move was Dale Tallon's nabbing of Willie Mitchell. My favorite unsung defenseman will be for the Panthers everything that Jovo was not.

* Check out the Kings roster and you'll find that their only possible debit is overconfidence.

* Talk about survival you have to put John Scott at the top of the list. Talent is minimum, size is maximum and every year he lands a job. This time with the Sharks. Go figure.

* Then again, I can say the same thing about Olli Jokinen, except that the Blond Bombshell has talent. No doubt he'll keep his bags packed while trying to turn the Preds into winners.

* In case you missed it, the secret to the Jason Spezza-to-Dallas-deal is that g.m. Jim Nill wisely added Ales Hemsky to the equation.

* With Tyler Seguin as top center, Spezza comes in at the Number Two Pivot slot giving the Stars strength down the middle so important in the Wild West.

* As the number of arresting UFOs rapidly disappear, my next guy to sign for any team would be Steve Ott; as solid as they come in grit areas any club can use. Islanders perhaps?

* Then again, Garth Snow has piled up more forwards than he can use which means training camp will separate the winners from losers; which would be any fourth-liner.

* Snow and Jack Capuano have plenty of time to figure who's going to flank the ever-improving John Tavares. Likely, Tavares, Kyle Okposo and ?????

* With Brian Gionta moving to Buffalo, a major Canadiens decision surrounded the Montreal captaincy.

* I say it cannot be anyone but P.K. Subban, a leader if ever there was one; and who cares about his flair; you gotta love it!

* Another Habs plus; the addition of P.A. Parenteau who knows how to score in both languages, English and French.

* Now that Washington has corralled Mats Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, where does that leave Mike Green? Where else, but the trading block.