Colorado's hopes rest on Aebischer

Minnesota can't believe it will improve upon last season until restricted free agent Marian Gaborik returns.

Updated: October 9, 2003, 1:47 PM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
Every team has reason for optimism as the NHL season begins Wednesday night and anything can happen between now and April when the playoffs start.

The Mighty Ducks, Wild and Lightning broke through with big years despite missing the playoffs the season before. Which teams will make the jump this season?

Minnesota's surprising success has provided new inspiration for teams with small budgets and few stars. Part of what makes the NHL great is that any team has a chance even with impressive additions to usual suspects such as Colorado and Detroit.