The 2023-24 NHL season starts Oct. 10. With training camps underway, NHL.com is taking a look at the three keys, the inside scoop on roster questions, and the projected lineup for each of the 32 teams. Today, the New York Rangers.

Coach: Peter Laviolette (first season)

Last season: 47-22-13; third place in Metropolitan Division, lost to New Jersey Devils in Eastern Conference First Round


1. Adjusting to new systems

The Rangers are learning new systems under Laviolette, who was hired as coach June 13, and the quicker they pick them up and implement them, the better they will be. Offensively, Laviolette's teams have been known to pressure up the ice, pushing the pace to play fast, urging the defensemen to be up in the rush. That's what he expects in New York too. Laviolette's teams are aggressive in the neutral zone, utilizing a 1-3-1 forecheck with the right wing pressuring up the ice and the center in the middle of the zone reading the play and pushing it to one side. The Rangers were more of a 1-2-2 team under former coach Gerard Gallant. They were urged to play fast, but it wasn't as structured as Laviolette demands. In the defensive zone, the Rangers should be more of a man-to-man team after playing more of a zone defense under Gallant.

2. Growing up

Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil were known as "the kids" the past two seasons, and it was the "Kid Line" when they played together. The forwards can't be called kids anymore. They're all playing on their second NHL contracts and each could be in the top-six forward group to start the season. Lafreniere is expected to change sides to play right wing, giving him a bigger opportunity because he was behind Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin on the left-wing depth chart his first three NHL seasons. He might get a chance to start on the No. 1 line with Mika Zibanejad and Kreider. Chytil could center the second line with Panarin and either Kakko or Blake Wheeler. Lafreniere (39 points), Chytil (45) and Kakko (43) each set an NHL career high last season but more is needed from all three.

3. Fresh "Bread"

Panarin has led the Rangers in scoring each of his four seasons with them, including 92 points (29 goals, 63 assists) in 82 games last season. But what's fresh in his mind are the two assists he had in seven games against the Devils in the playoffs, each in Game 1 of the series. Ending the season without a point in his final six games adds to Panarin's postseason struggles. During his eight NHL seasons, he hasn't been the same type of impact player in the playoffs (0.81 points per game) as he has been in the regular season (1.12 points per game). He'll have to wait until April for an opportunity to redeem himself in the postseason, but to have that chance he must play a big role in the regular season. That's his motivation.

'NHL Tonight' previews the Rangers 2023-24 outlook


Making the cut

There's likely one roster spot up for grabs, the 13th forward. It likely will be a battle between veterans Riley Nash and Alex Belzile, each of whom signed a two-year contract July 1, Jonny Brodzinski, and rookies Will Cuylle and Brennan Othmann. It's more likely that Cuylle and Othmann start the season with Hartford of the American Hockey League, leaving Nash, Belzile and Brodzinski as the leading options. But it's also possible the Rangers start with 12 forwards and eight defensemen. But if they go with 13 forwards, defenseman Ben Harpur could lose his roster spot.

Most intriguing addition

Wheeler signed a one-year contract with the Rangers on July 1 after the Winnipeg Jets bought out the final season of his five-year contract. The 37-year-old is expected to be one of the Rangers' top three right wings but is being pushed by Lafreniere and Kakko for top-six duty. He could be on the power play too, likely the second unit. Wheeler had 55 points (16 goals, 39 assists) in 72 games with the Jets last season, and his 922 points (312 goals, 610 assists) in 1,118 NHL games is 10th among active NHL players, so he doesn't have anything to prove. But being bought out and signing with a new team has provided motivation to prove he still can be an impact player.

Biggest potential surprise

Erik Gustafsson signed a one-year contract July 1. The defenseman had 38 points (seven goals, 31 assists) in 61 games playing under Laviolette with the Capitals last season before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It appears he's third on the depth chart on the left side of the Rangers defense behind Ryan Lindgren and K'Andre Miller, but Gustafsson's familiarity with Laviolette and his ability to thrive in his system and on the power play with the Capitals last season (11 points) adds to the intrigue of his addition.

Ready to contribute

The Rangers are not expected to have anybody on the roster playing on their entry-level contract unless Othmann or Cuylle make it. Lafreniere is in the first season of a two-year contract he signed Aug. 25. If he can adjust to playing right wing, Lafreniere will have a better chance to produce more after he had 39 points (16 goals, 23 assists) in 81 games last season.

Fantasy sleeper

Blake Wheeler, RW (fantasy average draft position: 164.9) -- He has fantasy bounce-back appeal joining the Rangers potent offense after the departure of high-scoring forwards Vladimir Tarasenko (signed with Ottawa Senators) and Patrick Kane (unrestricted free agent). Wheeler, who has played wing for most of his career but has experience at center, could play on the top line with Zibanejad or the second line with center Vincent Trocheck, and on the second power play. -- Pete Jensen


Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Alexis Lafreniere

Artemi Panarin -- Filip Chytil -- Kaapo Kakko

Jimmy Vesey -- Vincent Trocheck -- Blake Wheeler

Barclay Goodrow -- Nick Bonino -- Tyler Pitlick

Ryan Lindgren -- Adam Fox

K'Andre Miller -- Jacob Trouba

Erik Gustafsson -- Braden Schneider

Igor Shesterkin

Jonathan Quick