J.T. Miller #10 of the Rangers skates against the Chicago...

J.T. Miller #10 of the Rangers skates against the Chicago Blackhawks at Madison Square Garden on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Center shuffle

With Brad Richards bought out and Derek Stepan injured out of the gate, expect shuffling. Martin St. Louis, Derick Brassard, J.T. Miller and Dom Moore are the quartet to start the season. Can Miller handle the third spot? Kevin Hayes and Chris Mueller could see time during the campaign.

Sparking the power play

Dan Boyle was acquired to quarterback the first unit, and with his experience at the point this group needs to improve on its 15th-place ranking last season. The second group could be productive as well. A few timely goals could translate to a six- to eight-point difference in the standings.

The schedule

Travel is nowhere near as wacky as last season, an Olympic year, and is favorable at home through November. Henrik Lundqvist should have a steadier first quarter of the season. That also should help some of the other veterans (St. Louis, Rick Nash, Boyle, Dan Girardi, Ryan Malone) and give Alain Vigneault opportunities for practice time and to evaluate youngsters.

PredictionSecond in the Metropolitan Division, fourth in the Eastern Conference

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