2014-15 NHL Metropolitan Division preview: New York Rangers must overcome loss of depth and grit in order to do playoff damage again.
2013-14 RECORD: 45-31-6, 96 points (second in Metropolitan, lost in Stanley Cup to Kings)
VITAL SIGNS: 2.6 goals per game (18th), 2.3 goals-against per game (4th); 18.2 power play pct. (15th); 85.3 penalty kill pct. (3rd); shootout record: 4-3 (10th)
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
Chris Kreider — Derek Stepan (injured) — Martin St. Louis
Carl Hagelin — Derick Brassard — Mats Zuccarello
J.T. Miller — Matthew Lombardi — Rick Nash
Ryan Malone — Dominic Moore — Lee Stempniak
Tanner Glass, Kevin Hayes, Anthony Duclair
PLAYER TO WATCH: Chris Kreider
He was a force to be reckoned with at times in the playoffs last spring, but he has yet to blossom into the player his size (6-foot-3, 226 pounds) and speed dictate he should be. Cutting down on lapses in on-ice judgement and continuing to gel with Nash on the Rangers’ top line might push him over the 60-point plateau this season and that would do a lot to lessen the Rangers’ worries about where their offense will come from.
PREDICTION: 92 points (fourth in Metropolitan)