LAST SEASON: 29-45-8, 66 points. Missed the playoffs by finishing 15th in the Eastern Conference.
COACH: Gerald Gallant, 1st season with Panthers; 4th overall in NHL, 56-76-4.
PLAYER TO WATCH: G Roberto Luongo. For as much as the Panthers are talking about scoring more goals and improving special teams - and rightly so - Florida's hopes hinge upon one of the most popular players in team history. If Luongo is great, the Panthers could be a playoff team. If he struggles, so will Florida.
OUTLOOK: So much has to change quickly for Florida to get in playoff contention, but the Panthers went out and tried during the offseason to revamp just about everything from locker-room mood to on-ice style. Opening with five road games in the season's first seven outings may set the tone.