Profile of Eastern Conference teams
(Reuters) - Following are brief profiles of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference ahead of the 2012-13 National Hockey League (NHL) season.
New Jersey Devils
Head coach: Peter DeBoer
2011-12 record: 48-28-6
Head coach Peter DeBoer guided the club to the Stanley Cup Final last season in his first season behind the Devils bench. Also returning is 40-year-old goalie Martin Brodeur, who last season reached the 30-win mark for an NHL-record 14th time.
New York Islanders
Head coach: Jack Capuano
2011-12 record: 34-37-11
The face of the franchise, 22-year-old center John Tavares, finished seventh in league scoring last season with 81 points, which was the highest point total by an Islander in 14 years. He will head a young core of players that will be looking to secure the team's first playoff berth since 2007.
New York Rangers
Head coach: John Tortorella
2011-12 record: 51-24-7
After coming up just shy of a berth in the Stanley Cup Final, the Rangers made one of the biggest offseason moves by landing two-time 40-goal scorer Rick Nash in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist gives the team a solid presence in goal.
Head coach: Peter Laviolette
2011-12 record: 47-26-9
Forward Claude Giroux will be counted on to build on his breakout campaign last season when he took ownership of the Flyers' top line and finished second in the NHL in assists (65) and third in points (93). Lost unrestricted free agent Jaromir Jagr to the Dallas Stars.
Head coach: Dan Bylsma
2011-12 record: 51-25-6
Enter the season with Stanley Cup expectations given the one-two punch at center in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, a breakout 40-goal season by James Neal and the emergence of Kris Letang as one of the NHL's top defensemen. Acquired goalie Tomas Vokoun from Washington to help take some of the pressure off starter Marc-Andre Fleury.
Head coach: Claude Julien
2011-12 record: 49-29-4
Bruins will be looking to recover from a first-round playoff loss and inconsistent second half of last season. Goaltender Tuukka Rask takes over the reins in Boston's crease following the announced sabbatical of Tim Thomas, who backstopped the team to a Stanley Cup in 2011.
Head coach: Lindy Ruff
2011-12 record: 39-32-11
Sabres missed the playoffs last year but will enter the new campaign looking to build on momentum after a strong finish to the 2011-12 season. The pressure will be on goalie Ryan Miller to rediscover his top form while offseason acquisition of Steve Ott brings a physical edge to the team.
Head coach: Michel Therrien
2011-12 record: 31-35-16
Finished last in the Northeast for the first time in over 10 years. Will be counting on Max Pacioretty, who led the team in points last season, to maintain his form after signing a long-term contract last August, and for defenseman P.K. Subban to show continued growth.
Head coach: Paul MacLean
2011-12 record: 41-31-10
Swede Erik Karlsson will be counted on to shore up the blueline after capturing the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman last season while compatriot Daniel Alfredsson, the team's 40-year-old captain and the franchise's all-time leader in games played (1,131), goals (416) and assists (666), returns for his 17th NHL season.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Head coach: Randy Carlyle
2011-12 record: 35-37-10
The Maple Leafs, a struggling team looking to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2004, acquired James van Riemsdyk from Philadelphia last June and are expected to plug him in as the center for top-line wings Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.
Head coach: Kirk Muller
2011-12 record: 33-33-16
Made some big splashes during the offseason by acquiring forwards Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin via trade and free agency, respectively. Jordan reunites with older brother Eric, Carolina's captain and all-time leading scorer.
Head coach: Kevin Dineen
2011-12 record: 38-26-18
Coming off their first division title in franchise history and first postseason appearance in 12 years, the Panthers will try to build on the success of 2011-12.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Head coach: Guy Boucher
2011-12 record: 38-36-8
Steven Stamkos scored 60 goals last season to capture his second Maurice Richard Trophy, becoming the first NHL player to reach 60 since 2007-08. The Lightning offense will be aided by the acquisition of puck-moving defenseman Matt Carle, one of the most sought-after offseason free agents.
Head coach: Adam Oates
2011-12 record: 42-32-8
Capitals will be counting on Alex Ovechkin to return to his old form as one of the game's top scorers. Adam Oates comes to Washington for the first head coaching assignment of his career after a three-year stint as an assistant coach with New Jersey.
Head coach: Claude Noel
2011-12 record: 37-35-10
Filled a big offseason need by signing prospective top-line center Olli Jokinen, who joins a group of talented wings, including 21-year-old Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler and captain Andrew Ladd, who tallied 28 goals and provided superb leadership.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto)
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