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Highs and lows for NHL as new season begins

Tyler Seguin could be one of the NHL's breakout stars this season.

Steven Senne/AP

Tyler Seguin could be one of the NHL's breakout stars this season.

With the 2011-12 NHL season about to begin, The Boston Globe looks at some of the winners and losers around the league:

BEST ADDITIONS

1. Ilya Bryzgalov, Flyers -- It took Broad Streeters almost as long to fill hole in net as it once took to dig the Panama Canal.

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2. Brad Richards, NY Rangers --Blueshirts gave him a lot of loot, and he should deliver, at least for 2-3 of the 9 years.

3 Tomas Vokoun, Capitals -- Soft goaltending hasn’t been all of the Caps’ woes, but enough that Vokoun should make big difference.

TOP FIGHTERS

1. George Parros, Ducks -- Led league with 27 bouts in 2010-’11. Really, is this any way for a Princeton man to act?

2. Jared Boll, Blue Jackets-- Third on fight list with 23 last season. Lacks polish, but a very willing participant.

3. Milan Lucic, Bruins -- Card dropped to only 7 bouts in 2010-’11, in part because other NHLers fear the Wrath of Looch.

MOST HATED

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1. Steve Ott, Stars -- Plays at wing, center and occsasionally plays more than he yaps.

2. Sean Avery, Rangers -- Now he even has Hollywood cops taking his name and number. Destined never to grow up.

3. Dan Carcillo, Blackhawks -- Hooked on with Hawks after a three-year-tour in Philly, immediately began trashing Canucks.

MOST REVERED

1. Nick Lidstrom, Red Wings -- Seven-time winner of Norris Trophy. Slick, smart, and among game’s most gracious.

2. Teemu Selanne, Ducks -- There’s a reason he always smiles. In fact, 637 reasons, all goals.

3. Martin Brodeur, Devils -- Three Cups and more wins (625) than anyone in league history. What’s not to like?

COACHES ON HOT SEAT

1. Bruce Boudreau, Washington -- He likes it fast and loose, throttle open. But it’s time for it all to add up to something.

2. Brent Sutter, Calgary -- The last Sutter standing in lower Alberta. Slightly surprising he survived last year’s turnover.

3. Joe Sacco, Colorado -- Strong start upon arrival in ‘09-’10. But needs to dig out from last year’s Avalanche.

BEST CONTRACT BARGAINS

1. Tomas Vokoun, Caps -- One year at $1.5 million. Morton’s quality at McDonald’s prices.

2. Jeff Skinner, Canes -- Rookie of Year in 2010-’11. On books two more years at $900K. Entry-level heaven for Canes.

3. Tobias Enstrom, Jets -- His 51 points made him T5 among all blueliners for scoring. Cap hit: $3.75 million for two more years.

WORST CONTRACTS

1. Sergei Gonchar, Senators -- Two more years at $5.5 million for Sarge. Tough to salute that deal.

2. Mike Komisarek, Maple Leafs -- A total $13.5 million in cap dough due over next three years. Oh, my, Komi.

3. Tomas Kaberle, Hurricanes -- Bruins couldn’t walk away fast enough, Canes gave him $12.75 million/3 years.

RAISES DUE

1. David Krejci, Bruins -- Entering final year at $3.75 million cap hit. Next deal should average about $5 million per.

2. Matt Duchene, Avalanche -- Slick kid entering final year of entry-level deal at $900K.

3. Ian Laperriere, Flyers -- Probably won’t get much more than his $1 milllion, but character makes him worth double.

BREAKOUT STARS

1. Taylor Hall, Oilers -- Impressive debut last sesaon, capable of 60 or more points this year.

2. Cam Fowler, Ducks -- No slouch with 40 points in rookie year. Shows real PMD skills.

3. Tyler Seguin, Bruins -- Flashes were there in the playoffs. If he can gain a little grit, should be good to go.

BEST FACEOFF MEN

1. Manny Malhotra, Canucks -- Rangers believe he would be captain one day. Steady rock at the dot.

2. Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks -- Faceoff skills abundant, but a bit lost in rest of package.

3. Patrice Bergeron, Bruins -- When the Bruins really need to win one, he’s the guy. Every time.

TOP 3 NORTH AMERICANS

1. Sidney Crosby, Penguins -- Orr-like in personality and game sense. Would be a shame if concussions stunt growth.

2. Steve Stamkos, Lightning -- Sizzling shot, gritty and tireless worker. Open draft, some might take ahead of Crosby.

3. Shea Weber, Predators -- Powerful shot and dominating force in own end. Often overlooked because of where he plays.

TOP 3 EUROPEANS

1. Alex Ovechkin, Capitals -- Hasn’t done the job in playoffs, but still game’s most dynamic performer.

2. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit -- Always around the puck, always in control. Roger Federer on skates.

3. Nick Lidstrom, Detroit -- If he weren’t still so good, this spot would go to Zdeno Chara. Sometimes seniority counts.

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