ESPN offers up ten burning questions for 2008-09 and answers from Scott Burnside and Pierre Lebrun.
Which player will challenge Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin (the past two Art Ross Trophy winners) for the 2008-09 NHL scoring title?
Scott Burnside: Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay. Lecavalier is recovering from shoulder surgery but is expected to be ready for the start of the season in Prague. He will have a much stronger offensive supporting cast than last season. He had 92 points last season, a 16-point drop-off from the 2006-07 season, when he led the league with 52 goals and finished third in scoring with 108 points. It will take some doing to stay close to Ovechkin and Crosby, assuming they both stay healthy, but Lecavalier is a skilled player in the prime of his career and could make for an interesting three-way race.
Pierre LeBrun: Joe Thornton, San Jose. This is a make-or-break season for the Sharks and, in many ways, for Big Joe as well. Some people continue to question his leadership and big-game abilities after his team faltered once again in the playoffs last season. Not this writer. Thornton quietly finished fifth in NHL scoring last season with 96 points. With so much on the line this season, he will explode for an even bigger year and challenge Crosby and Ovechkin for the overall scoring title.