The regular season will get a late start on Oct. 12 due to the World Cup of Hockey and end on April 9. In all, 1,230 games will be played, and each team will get a bye week during the year. The Christmas break will run from Dec. 24-26. The 2017 trade deadline will be 3 p.m. ET on February 28, per Cap Friendly.
Here are some dates of note on the 2016-17 NHL calendar.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators, Oct. 12
On opening night, Auston Matthews, who is already donning the blue and white, will make his NHL debut for the Maple Leafs in the first “Battle of Ontario” of the season. And depending on how things go post-July 1, maybe the buzz around this game won’t just be on the No. 1 pick but also a certain blond forward who may leave his sunny home in Florida to head north.
Calgary Flames at Edmonton Oilers, Oct. 12
Opening will also feature the first “Battle of Alberta” of the season as the Oilers break in Rogers Place following the closing ceremonies at Rexall Place, which may very well still be going on.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals, Oct. 13
After dispatching the San Jose Sharks in six games in the Stanley Cup Final, the Penguins will raise a fourth Stanley Cup championship banner to the rafters of Consol Energy Center in front of Alex Ovechkin and crew. That is quite a troll job.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Winnipeg Jets, Oct. 19
One week after opening night, Matthews and Patrik Laine — the likely No. 1 and No. 2 picks in this weekend’s draft — face off for the first time in their careers as we get the 2016 version of Sid vs. Ovi, Taylor vs. Tyler and Connor vs. Jack.
Anaheim Ducks at Toronto Maple Leafs, Dec. 19
Back behind the Ducks’ bench, Randy Carlyle will probably get the warmest of welcomes when he goes back to Toronto for the first time since Dec. 20, 2014. They loved him there, right?
Minnesota Wild at Anaheim Ducks, Jan. 8
Bruce Boudreau returns to Anaheim to face the team that dumped him following another Game 7 loss. Unlike Carlyle returning to Toronto, we fully expect a rousing ovation and an emotional Bruce tribute video during the first stoppage in play.
2017 NHL All-Star Weekend, Jan. 27-30
Following last year’s successful 3-on-3 tournament, that format will likely return in Los Angeles. Hockey fans fully supporting an unlikely write-in candidate like John Scott again? Unlikely, since we bet we’ll see some changes to the All-Star Game voting process when its announced later this year.
Nashville Predators at Columbus Blue Jackets, Feb. 19
Ryan Johansen returns to Columbus for the first time since the January trade that sent him to Music City. Will he be greeted warmly or will the boo birds inside Nationwide Arena make themselves heard? (These two teams meet in Columbus on Oct. 3, but since it’s the last preseason game, it’s unknown if the regulars will skate that night.)
New Jersey Devils at Detroit Red Wings, April 9
This could either be the final regular season game or the final game ever at Joe Louis Arena, the 37-year-old home of the Red Wings. If it indeed is the last game there, it’ll also mark the end of the team’s historic 25-season playoff streak. Quite a way to say goodbye.
Oct. 23 - Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets, Investors Group Field
Jan. 1 - Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs, BMO Field
Jan. 2 - Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues, Busch Stadium
Feb. 25 - Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins, Heinz Field
If outdoor games are a thing you still care about, you’ll get four this season.
What games are you most looking forward to this season?
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