Will O’Neill, senior defense: One of Maine’s co-captains this season, O’Neill will be counted on as a stabilizing presence on the blue line and power play. O’Neill scored four goals with 17 assists in 28 games last season, missing eight games before Christmas as a result of a knee injury.

• Spencer Abbott, senior left wing: Abbott was Maine’s breakout player last season, scoring 17 goals and 23 assists while running the point on Maine’s power play. Abbott’s biggest gain over the past two seasons has come on defense; in his freshman year he was minus-21 and was a plus-9 last season.

• Brian Flynn, senior center: After playing the last three years on Maine’s top line at left wing, where he scored 20 goals and 16 assists last season, Flynn will shift to center, where he’s expected to become one of Maine’s primary faceoff specialists. Flynn, a co-captain, has averaged more than a point per game in the last two seasons.

• Dan Sullivan, sophomore goalie: At one point last season, Sullivan set the program’s record for consecutive shutout minutes — 202 minutes, 48 seconds — and finished with a 2.73 goals-against average and .890 saves percentage in 21 games. This season, Sullivan will go back to platooning in goal with sophomore Martin Ouellette.

• Joey Diamond, junior right wing: Diamond brings grit and offense, and returns as one of the Black Bears’ most pestering net-front presences; he amassed a team-leading 130 penalty minutes last season. Diamond scored 11 goals and 10 assists last year, and will play on the Black Bears’ top line with Abbott and Flynn.

Five Opponents to Watch

• Oct. 7 vs. Merrimack: The season opener and a rematch of last season’s Hockey East quarterfinals. when Merrimack eliminated the Black Bears from the postseason by sweeping the first two games in a best-of-three.

• Oct. 14-15 at North Dakota: One of Maine’s nonconference opponents, the Sioux reached the Frozen Four last season. The teams will meet this year at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.

• Nov. 4 at Boston College: The Eagles, who are the favorite to win Hockey East in the preseason coaches’ poll, boast one of the nation’s top collegiate defensemen in Brian Dumoulin of Biddeford.

• Jan. 7 vs. New Hampshire, at Fenway Park in Boston: The traditional rivalry goes outside. The Wildcats and the Black Bears will meet at Fenway Park in an outdoor contest.

• Jan. 27-28 at Boston University: The Terriers are another one of the preseason favorites in Hockey East and another of the Black Bears’ longtime rivals.