NEW YORK RANGERS
LAST SEASON: 45-31-6, 96 points. Finished 2nd in Metropolitan Division, 5th in Eastern Conference. Lost to Los Angeles Kings in Stanley Cup finals.
COACH: Alain Vigneault, 2nd season with Rangers (45-31-6); 13th overall in NHL (467-319-102).
PLAYER TO WATCH: Rick Nash. The top forward will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing postseason in which the 2002 No. 1 draft notched only three goals and 10 points in 25 games and heard boos from the crowd. The 30-year-old left wing has come to training camp looking thinner and fitter as he heads into his third season with the Rangers. Nash has four seasons left for big money on his current contract, so there is plenty of time for him to win over the Madison Square Garden faithful.
OUTLOOK: The Rangers will go as far as goalie Henrik Lundqvist, ''The King,'' will take them. The team has undergone major changes since the run to the finals, but with the strong core of returning veterans such as Nash, Martin St. Louis, and defensemen Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, fortified by newcomers Dan Boyle, Lee Stempniak and Ryan Malone, New York could again be a tough out in the playoffs. A new captain is expected to be announced at the start of the season to replace the trio of alternate captains that took leadership roles after former captain Ryan Callahan was traded to Tampa Bay late last season for St. Louis.