GM/coach: Mike Vellucci (12th year).
Last season: 47-18-2-1, 97 points, second in conference. Lost in second round to Kitchener in seven.
The man: Future Washington Capitals stud Tom Wilson set to become top power forward. He's one of four NHL first-rounders on the Whalers with Stefan Noesen (Ottawa), Rickard Rakell (Anaheim) and J.T. Miller (New York Rangers).
Adios: Canadian world junior goalie Scott Wedgewood (New Jersey) hands reins to Carolina pick Matt Mahalak.
Watch for: Defenceman Connor Carrick. The Washington prospect, acquired from Guelph, looks mighty comfy in Whalers garb.
They need: To shake off the indignity of last spring's early playoff exit.
Prediction: West's the Whale's tale.
GM: Mark Hunter. Coach: Dale Hunter (12th year).
Last season: 49-18-0-1, 99 points, league regular-season and playoff champions. Lost Memorial Cup final 2-1 in overtime to Shawinigan.
The man: Dale Hunter resumes bench duties following Washington sabbatical and team's second OHL title.
Adios: Top goalie Michael Houser (Florida), playoff MVP Austin Watson (Nashville) captain Jarred Tinordi (Montreal), Greg McKegg (Toronto), smooth Vladislav Namestnikov (Tampa) and fullback on ice Jared Knight (Boston).
Watch for: Max Domi and Bo Horvat. Big things in store for 17-year-old forwards in second season ... Seth Griffith takes a shot at 50 goals ... Former Oshawa goalie Kevin Bailie and returning Jake Patterson joust for crease time.
They're fine if: Pittsburgh Penguins prospects Olli Maatta and Scott Harrington play like they did last season.
Prediction: Hunter will have 'em humming again.
GM/coach: Steve Spott (fifth year, also Canada's world junior coach)
Last season: 42-24-1-1, 86 points, third in conference. Lost in third round to London in five.
The man: Matt Puempel. Former Pete and Ottawa first-rounder ready to bust through 40-goal barrier in renovated Aud. Puempel, Dallas first-rounder Radek Faksa and Edmonton pick Tobias Rieder (42 goals, and led OHL playoffs with 27 points) are a juggernaut.
Adios: Man-mountain defender Cody Sol (Winnipeg), who logged massive minutes with star defenceman Ryan Murphy.
Watch for: Third-year forward Matia Marcantuoni (Pittsburgh), ready for a bounce-back season after injury.
They need: Goalie tandem John Gibson and Franky Palazzese remain the best one-two punch in the league. They could hide lingering concerns up the middle and on the blue line.
Prediction: 50 wins for 50th anniversary season would be legendary.
OWEN SOUND ATTACK
GM: Dale DeGray. Coach: Greg Ireland (second year).
Last season: 32-29-3-4, 71 points, sixth in conference. Lost in first round to Kitchener in five.
The man: Centre Daniel Catenacci. The former first overall pick (Soo) and Buffalo NHL pick is the undisputed offensive leader now. He could bag 40 goals and 90 points.
Adios: Leading man Mike Halmo. They'll miss his 40 goals, 85 points, energy and grit.
Watch for: Jordan Binnington. He was picked the most outstanding goalie at the Memorial Cup in 2011 and has played significant minutes in the OHL the past three years ... Former Sarnia captain Nathan Chiarlitti will provide experience on defence.
They need: To improve against the division heavyweights. They struggled against London and Kitchener last season, costing them home ice in the first round.
Prediction: They're back, but tough to crack top three.
GM/coach: Jacques Beaulieu (second year)
Last season: 34-27-2-5, 75 points, fourth in conference. Lost in first round to Saginaw in six.
The man: Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal's top pick this year, missed nearly entire season after a freak knee injury. He has a chance to be the best forward in the league this time around.
Adios: To half their goals from 2011-12. NHL No. 1 pick Nail Yakupov reassigned to Sarnia by Edmonton but he's bound for KHL until the lockout is done ... Brett Thompson (27 goals), import Chicago second-rounder Ludvig Rensfeldt (22 goals) and Bruins prospect Ryan Spooner (34 points in 30 games) are gone, so Sting on lookout for one more top-six forward.
Watch for: Charles Sarault quietly led the team in scoring (20-67-87) last season. Goalie J.P. Anderson, back for an overage season, played in the Memorial Cup final in 2011 with Mississauga.
They need: Their top guys -- Galchenyuk, Anderson and 28-goal man Reid Boucher -- to have outstanding years.
Prediction: Beaulieu's beehive always busy.
GM: Mike Kelly. Coach: Scott Walker (third year).
Last season: 31-31-2-4, 68 points, seventh in conference. Lost in first round to Plymouth in six.
The man: Defender Matt Finn, Toronto's second-rounder, named captain after the club went without one last season.
Adios: Veteran Francis Menard (24-34-60) wearing Petes maroon-and-white.
Watch for: Goalie Garret Sparks, a Leafs draft pick, played in 59 of 68 games last season with solid numbers ... Dangerous Hunter Garlent (16-26-42 as a rookie) is awfully fun to watch and Winnipeg third-rounder Scott Kosmachuk scored 30 goals in second season.
They need: Overage forward Cody McNaughton (25 goals), Zach Mitchell (37 goals) and Tanner Richard (48 points in 43 games) to lead the charge up front.
Prediction: They have good vibes but a little young to contend.
GM: Warren Rychel. Coach: Bob Boughner (sixth year).
Last season: 29-35-5-2, 65 points, eighth in conference. Lost in first round to London in four.
The man: Kerby Rychel. The son of the GM scored 41 goals last season and isn't yet 18. No one has to tell him twice to shoot the puck.
Adios: Star forward Alex Khokhlachev, who scored 59 goals in two seasons, has decided to play for Moscow Spartak in the KHL.
Watch for: First-rounder Josh Ho-Sang and third-rounder Ryan Verbeek -- former NHLer Pat's nephew -- to make an early splash. Slovak forward Juraj Bezuch lit it up in pre-season for the Rangers, who didn't have import room.
They need: The young defence, including highly touted Calgary second-rounder Pat Sieloff, holding the fort and returning Czech goalie Jaroslav Pavelka slams the door.
Prediction: Next year is their prime time.
SAULT STE. MARIE GREYHOUNDS
GM: Kyle Dubas. Coach: Mike Stapleton (second year).
Last season: 29-33-2-4, 64 points. Missed playoffs.
The man: Ryan Sproul. Detroit prospect tied for third in the league in scoring by defencemen (23 goals and 54 points) and can be a game-breaker.
Adios: Former first pick Gianluca Curcuruto shipped to Plymouth to play defence after just two seasons.
Watch for: First-rounder Jared McCann, who has rookie-of-the-year potential.
They'll be fine if: Top gun Nick Cousins (35-53-88 last season) lives up to his scoring title potential.
Prediction: Slowly emerging from the doghouse.
GM: Sherry Bassin. Coach: Robbie Ftorek (sixth year).
Last season: 10-52-3-3, 26 points. Missed playoffs.
The man: No. 1 pick Connor McDavid. There's a lot of hope invested in him and the pressure is on his mates to complement his talent.
Adios: Incoming Swedish import Oscar Dansk, a Columbus second-rounder, inherits the crease from outgoing Russian Ramis Sadikov.
Watch for: Toronto pick Connor Brown, who led the team in scoring last year with 53 points -- 18 clear of anyone else. Promising Stephen Harper scored 24 times as a rookie and there's more where that came from.
They need: To win a few early. Usually slow out of the gate, the Otters draw defending champ London three times in the first month.
Prediction: A 45-point improvement is necessary to contend for a playoff spot. Tough business.
GM: Jim Paliafito. Coach: Reigning OHL top coach Greg Gilbert (second year).
Last season: 33-27-1-7, 74 points. Lost in second round to London in six.
The man: Centre Vincent Trocheck. Florida third-rounder and Pittsburgh native can be one of the league's most dynamic players and Spirit needs his 29-goal, 85-point performance from last season -- and probably more.
Adios: Dominant Chicago stud Brandon Saad, who racked up 76 points in 44 games. One-third of the team's offence departs with him and linemates Josh Shalla (40 goals) and Michael Fine (67 points).
Watch for: Overage forward Garret Ross, who busted through with 25 goals last season.
They need: Goalie Jake Paterson (Detroit) standing on his head as he did for much of the playoffs.
Prediction: More Gilbert mastery needed to vault up the charts.
GM: Jason Ford. Coach: Dale Hawerchuk (third year).
Last season: 40-23-3-2, 85 points, third in conference. Lost in second round to Ottawa in seven.
The man: F Mark Scheifele. If he stays all season, the Winnipeg first-rounder will do serious damage.
Adios: As a Canadian world junior and Los Angeles first-rounder, late-bloomer Tanner Pearson (37-54-91) had eye-opening season.
Watch for: Former London Knight Andreas Athanasiou's wicked breakaway speed, and sophomore defenceman Aaron Ekblad's ability to spring him.
They need: Goalie Mathias Niederberger giving them more of the same (2.68 goals-against average, .918 save percentage)
Prediction: Galloping to the top.
GM/coach: George Burnett (ninth year).
Last season: 35-32-1-0, 71 points, seventh in conference. Lost in first round to Ottawa in six.
The man: The Bulls can ride Boston first-rounder Malcolm Subban, Canada's world junior goalie favourite, for weeks at a time. He went 9-1 with two shutouts in a sensational November in 2011.
Adios: Captain Luke Judson and Adam Payerl combined for 40 goals on the third-lowest scoring team in the league.
Watch for: Production from Russians Daniil Zarkov (23 goals) and Sergey Kuptsov, who comes over from Mississauga.
They need: Top scorers Vancouver first-rounder Brendan Gaunce and Winnipeg pick Austen Brassard filling the net.
Prediction: Charging up the standings.
GM/coach: Stan Butler (15th year).
Last season: 36-22-3-7, 82 points, fourth in conference. Lost in second round to Niagara in four.
The man: Big Barclay Goodrow is a handful. He's a consistent 20-plus goal man poised to shoot at a higher target this time.
Adios: Marlies-bound Toronto pick Sam Carrick and his team-high 37 goals.
Watch for: A well-fortified Bunker. The defencemen -- Abraham, Wind, Bell, Blujus, McIvor -- don't change and Czech goalie Matej Machovsky has their back.
They need: Patrik Machac stepping up the scoring. The defence will be there.
Prediction: Third is the word.
GM/coach: Chris Byrne (fourth year).
Last season: 40-20-5-3, 88 points, second in conference. Lost in third round to Niagara in five.
The man: Senators first-rounder Cody Ceci is key on the big Scotiabank stage because of construction at Lansdowne Place and lockout. The defenceman had 17 goals and 60 points last season.
Adios: Kings second-rounder and two-time 50-goal scorer Tyler Toffoli, plus No. 2 sniper Shane Prince (43 goals), and rental forwards John McFarland (Saginaw) and Mike Cazzola (Erie).
Watch for: Sean Monahan, who bagged 33 goals last season, is the trigger man up front.
They need: Former Brampton goalie Keegan Wilson following seamlessly in the skates of Detroit prospect and Czech world junior standout Petr Mrazek.
Prediction: Still capable in the capital.
GM: Jeff Twohey. Coach: D.J. Smith (first year).
Last season: 31-30-4-2, 69 points, eighth in conference. Lost in first round to Niagara in six.
The man: Leader Boone Jenner missed 25 games in 2011-12, which didn't help matters. The Columbus second-rounder along with Flyers first-rounder Scott Laughton don't give an inch.
Adios: Sniper Christian Thomas, who scored 54 two seasons ago, is in the New York Rangers system and 25-goal import Nicklas Jensen left to play in Sweden.
Watch for: Tyler Biggs, Toronto first-rounder, is in town after departing the NCAA's Miami of Ohio. He'll help up front immediately.
They need: Carolina prospect and sophomore goalie Daniel Altshuller to keep the biscuit out of the basket.
Prediction: Underachievers no more.
GM: Blaine Smith. Coach: Trent Cull (third year)
Last season: 36-26-4-2, 78 points, fifth in conference. Lost in first round to Brampton in four.
The man: Toronto pick Josh Leivo. Scored 32 last season and looked strong in helping team win the pre-season World Junior Cup in Russia.
Adios: Scoring champ Michael Sgarbossa (47-55-102) will get a shot in the Colorado system.
Watch for: The Dominiks -- Czech imports and buddies Kubalik and Kahun -- can bring instant chemistry to the offence.
They need: To stay out of sick bay. A full season from veteran forward Brody Silk adds bite to the Wolves attack.
Prediction: Still snarling.
GM/coach: Marty Williamson (third year).
Last season: 47-18-0-3, 97 points, first in conference. Lost OHL final to London in five.
The man: Hey, here's a reason to root for a long NHL lockout -- more Dougie Hamilton in the OHL. The Bruins will whisk away the top defenceman when the NHL resumes, but for now he's in St. Catharines. Now, if only the Sharks would ship back his brother, Freddie. . .
Adios: Andrew Agozzino (40-48-88) lit it up during his five-year Dogs career. Niagara enjoyed 95 goals from its overagers, including Alex Friesen and David Pacan, last season.
Watch for: Future Islander Ryan Strome. The longer he sticks around, the better chance Steve Shipley and Brett Ritchie have for career goal-scoring seasons.
They need: The back end to hold up minus mainstay Mark Visentin (Phoenix) in net. Christopher Festarini had good numbers as a backup on a top-notch squad.
Prediction: Enough left to surprise.
GM: Dave Reid. Coach: Mike Pelino (third year).
Last season: 27-34-3-4, 61 points. 27-34-3-4, 61 points. Missed playoffs.
The man: Nick Ritchie. He's the class of an impressive group of 1995-born Petes.
Adios: Oft-injured Andrew Yogan had a standout OHL farewell with 41 goals as an overager.
Watch for: Tampa first-rounder Slater Koekkoek. He's a horse at the back end and when he was hurt the club struggled mightily.
They need: Alan Quine, 30-goal man and former No. 2 pick in the draft, to produce along with ex-Storm Francis Menard and ex-Hound Brett Findlay.
Prediction: They're on the long road back.
GM: Doug Gilmour. Coach: Todd Gill (second year).
Last season: 19-41-3-5, 46 points, 10th in conference. Missed playoffs.
The man: There's a cornerstone player in Ryan Kujawinski, who scored 15 goals in 30 games as a rookie after mid-season trade from Sarnia.
Adios: Former world junior-winning goalie and Anaheim pick Igor Bobkov saw the most rubber in the league last season. It's ex-Ranger and Pete Mike Morrison's turn now.
Watch for: Top gun Darcy Greenaway (52 points) and captain Cody Alcock (24 goals) to boost their production for a team that scored only 188 goals last season.
They need: New blue-line blood -- big Finn Mikko Vainonen, top pick Roland McKeown and second-rounder Dylan DiPerna -- to shine in a hurry.
Prediction: Gill's bench skill could will them there.
GM/coach: James Boyd (second year).
Last season: 33-28-1-6, 73 points, sixth in conference. Lost in first round to Barrie in six.
The man: Stuart Percy. Toronto first-rounder, played only half a season because of injury, so a strong defensive campaign from him, veteran Dylan DeMelo (Sharks) and Carolina pick Trevor Carrick would provide a much-needed boost.
Adios: Top netminder Brandon Maxwell, leaving 17-year-old Spencer Martin with a chance to carry the torch. He appeared in 15 games as a rookie.
Watch for: Forwards Kristoff Kontos (22 points) and Brett Foy (11 goals) getting the chance to fish for bigger numbers.
They need: Someone other than Riley Brace (33-49-82) to score. Perhaps incoming Russian Sam Babintsev can help.
Prediction: Give the Fish some time.