The Stanley Cup went on quite an adventure with the Washington Capitals this offseason, but the defending champions face a fight to retain it this season.
The NHL returns on Wednesday when the Caps will raise their banner and open the regular season against the Boston Bruins.
But could Washington's numerous 'keg stands' lead the team to experience a Stanley Cup hangover? The departure of coach Barry Trotz has also left many questioning the consistency of the Capitals heading into the season.
Meanwhile, competition is building not only around Washington in the Eastern Conference, but in the Western Conference as well, with some of the biggest threats coming out of the Atlantic and Pacific divisions.
Here are three storylines to follow heading into the 2018 NHL season.
Will adding John Tavares make the Toronto Maple Leafs contenders?
The coveted free-agent center signed a seven-year contract worth $77 million with the Maple Leafs in July after spending the previous nine seasons with the New York Islanders, and he is set to join a solid squad of youngsters that includes Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly.
Tavares, a five-time All-Star, is in a position that will allow him to build on his numbers after finishing with 37 goals and 47 assists last season. But is it enough to help Toronto to hoist the Stanley Cup for the 14th time and the first time since 1967?
Can Erik Karlsson take the San Jose Sharks to the next level?
The Sharks acquired the captain and defenseman in a trade with the Ottawa Senators last month with the hope that Karlsson can help San Jose win its first Stanley Cup after coming so close in 2016.
The five-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy winner posted nine goals and 53 assists last season and is expected to bolster the Sharks power play to an unstoppable level as he creates what will be one of the league's most lethal duos alongside Brent Burns.
So we heard you like Karlssons. pic.twitter.com/aSyquWi7bt— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) October 1, 2018
How will the Vegas Golden Knights top their historic inaugural season?
The Golden Knights burst onto the scene in their first season, winning the Pacific Division and steamrolling their way to the Stanley Cup Final before being beaten by the Capitals, as Washington captured its first championship.
But several offseason moves have the line looking a little different this year. The Golden Knights lost James Neal and David Perron but added Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty to fill the void, all but assuring a high-octane offense is poised for another high-scoring season.
22. November 2018
|I should have faced Mourinho – Casillas rues Real Madrid fall-out|
|Kubica handed Williams drive for 2019|
|Hansen rings the changes for Italy clash|
|Zabaleta: West Ham need Nasri´s quality|
|Atletico Madrid v Barcelona: 2018-19 signings compared|
|Guardiola can repeat Barcelona success at Man City - Xavi|
|Harris not worried about previous Langer criticism|
|Blazers routed by Bucks, Warriors lose again|
|Nowitzki looking at December return after long recovery from ankle surgery|
|Australia, England and South Korea share World Cup of Golf lead|
|Warm welcome from Cavs ´means a lot´ to LeBron|
|LeBron helps Lakers past Cavs in Cleveland return|
|Guardiola: Premier League has improved me as a manager|
|WATCH: Cavs´ tribute video for LeBron does him justice in return to Cleveland|
|Harris, Tremain earn Australia Test spots|
|Mourinho would´ve won titles at Man City – Drogba|
|Cowboys WR Gallup set to play on Thursday after death of brother|
|Sutton re-signs with Rabbitohs for 2019|
|Chelsea legend Drogba confirms retirement at 40|
|England on track to be the world´s best in Tests - Root|
|Aubameyang ´trying to get fit´ for Bournemouth clash|
21. November 2018
|Tenerife streak halted by PAOK as Bologna roll on|
|FIFA president Infantino pledges best ever World Cup in Qatar|
|India favourites after ´one of the worst years´ for Australia - Warne|
|Klaassen: Impossible to compare me to Kroos, Xavi|
|Guardiola eyeing future international job|
|Trubisky doubtful for Bears´ Thanksgiving game|
|O´Neill planning ´next adventure´ after leaving Republic of Ireland|
|Premier League: Brexit should not be used to weaken squads|
|16 balls, 14 boundaries, 74 runs - Shahzad steals show in T10 opener|
|WATCH: Patrice Evra plays with poultry in bizarre Thanksgiving message|
|Packers star Rodgers pledges $1m to California wildfire relief|
|Klitschko worried for boxing´s Olympic future|
|Lewandowski back in Bayern training as Davies joins new team-mates|
|Hogg fit for much-changed Scotland|
|Former Arsenal striker Bendtner faces 50 days in prison over taxi driver assault|
|Athletic extend Muniain contract to 2024|
|Kohli ready to move on after narrow defeat|
|PSG to wait for Neymar, Mbappe injury updates|
|Icardi hopeful of Messi return for Copa America|
|Cavs star Love expects to be out until 2019|
|Ricciardo terrified by Renault switch|
|Under-fire Taylor calls for PFA structure review|
|McLaren reveal one-off livery for Alonso´s last race|
|Samir Nasri training with West Ham amid reports of free transfer|
|Guardiola warned over derby clash comments|
|Stoinis sees Australia to T20 win against India|
|Modric not deserving of Ballon d´Or – Cavani|
|F1 Raceweek: Alonso ends on 312 races, Raikkonen a Ferrari great - Abu Dhabi GP in numbers|
|Neymar made a mistake leaving Barcelona for PSG, insists Edmilson|
|O´Neill and Keane leave Republic of Ireland after relegation|
|WATCH: Maxwell hits Spidercam with sliced shot in Australia-India T20|
|Rafinha wants Barca exit due to ´crazy´ Valverde selections – Mazinho|
|France to wear rainbow laces in support of Thomas following attack|
|You need to stop this – Cavani slams media over supposed Neymar feud|
|Anderson rested for final Test|
|Tite applauds Seedorf for Cameroon´s style of play|
|Griezmann not obsessed with Ballon d´Or|
|Neymar feels injury is ´nothing serious´|
|Durant says Green altercation won´t impact his free agency|
|Morris blasts drama surrounding Wizards: It´s messed up|
|Scaloni thrilled for Dybala, Icardi|
|Green´s last-second shot keeps Raptors atop East standings|
|Deschamps praises Griezmann for Giroud gesture|
|Warriors star Curry improving, still out at least three more games|
|Chile 4 Honduras 1: Sanchez, Vidal shine for La Roja|
|Argentina 2 Mexico 0: Icardi, Dybala score first international goals|
|Mickelson calls Tiger the greatest of all time|
|Durant fined $25,000 for using inappropriate language|
|Fizdale isn´t concerned about Knicks´ losing streak|