If Skate America's big storyline is about the Gold-Wagner matchup on home ice, the Skate Canada storyline will be the return of home favorites and 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir. They haven't competed since their silver medal showing in Sochi 2 1/2 years ago. There are intriguing stories across the board in all four disciplines. Should be a fun competition.
1. Virtue/Moir's first step toward Pyeongchang
Virtue/Moir's last foray in competition was in Sochi, where they finished second to Meryl Davis/Charlie White. Two seasons off, and they couldn't stay away from competition - and a possible third Olympics coming up. It's the perfect time for them to make their comeback, especially with the evolving landscape of ice dance since they took their break. The big question this season will be how they fare against Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron, who have assumed the definitive top spot in ice dance during the past two seasons. Make no mistake, Skate Canada will be theirs to win ... the more interesting observation will be how large the gap is between them and the second-place team.
2. Eyes on other returns
While Virtue/Moir's return may be the most novel, other returns will be top-of-mind for skating fans as well. Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov and Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier are coming back to competition after injuries. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, World champion just two seasons ago, had a terrible last season after failing to even make the top five at Russian Nationals - this season could be a make-or-break one for her. Also at Skate Canada will be Han Yan, twice top 10 at Worlds, who imploded at Worlds in March and failed to get out of the short program. And always the crowd favorite, Misha Ge will be looking to put the injuries from last season behind him and look forward to regaining his place in the world of men's skating.
And perhaps less of a "comeback" but more of an interesting follow-up storyline to Worlds, Patrick Chan will be looking to redeem himself from a disappointing free skate that left him in fifth and off the podium. Can he rediscover the form that brought him three World titles? This season may be a pivotal one for Chan and his chances in Pyeongchang.
Similarly, World silver medalist Yuzuru Hanyu will look to put that Worlds free skate behind him. But for me, the interesting note will be whether or not he debuts a new quad (likely the loop that we've seen him land in exhibitions). Either way, the chances of him adding another quad this season are pretty high.
3. Grand Prix debuts
World junior champion Daniel Samohin makes his eagerly-awaited GP debut - he's got the charisma, he's got the jumps, he's got it all. This could be a huge breakthrough season for him. South Korea's Da Bin Choi will also make her debut after a 14th-place debut at Worlds in March. And then you've got one of the new switcheroo Chinese pairs, Xiaoyu Yu/Hao Zhang, who will make their first GP appearance together. Can they live up to the promise that the Chinese skating federation is certainly expecting from them?
WATCH: Yu/Zhang's new short program
4. New skills from Duhamel/Radford?
During the off-season, Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford intrigued observers with throw double axels in their exhibition programs. After an unsuccessful stint with the quad lutz last season - which they attributed to messing with the technique of their throw triple lutz - it looks like they may be pivoting to the triple axel. The quad lutz would have been a first, and Duhamel/Radford love to push the boundaries. But the axel would give them an even bigger boost in base value. Why? The short program.
Their big advantage over the past few years has been their side-by-side lutzes and their quad salchow. But other pairs have been catching up - more pairs doing quads, more pairs doing harder side-by-side elements - and rules dictate that pairs can only do quads in the free skate, but they can do the triple axel in the short. So replacing the lutz with the axel in the short and free would increase base value by 4.40, whereas just doing the quad lutz in the free would be a 3.50 increase. We've also seen Duhamel practicing solo loops and flips in training, which may signal a more difficult side-by-side as well.
Plus, we now also know that Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot are planning that axel in the short (and presumably, also the free). Game on.
5. Where do Medvedeva and Nagasu go?
Two skaters at very different points in their careers. Evgenia Medvedeva is fresh off her World title and almost flawless season, but as we have been watching with all the Russian teenage phenoms the past few seasons, it will be interesting to see whether growth spurts will affect her timing and consistency. On the other side is Mirai Nagasu, whose first Grand Prix was eight years ago and who just had her best season since the Vancouver Olympic season. A strong start to her season will do wonders to get her back in the top, and would most certainly make a case for her chances at Worlds this season and for Pyeongchang next year.