Before the 2019 NHL Draft begins this evening in Vancouver, most of the National Hockey League teams have revealed their season and home opening games for the 2019-20 season. The full 2019-20 schedule will be released on June 25, so there will be more information released then. Still, we can figure out some of the October schedule based on what people have announced and reported. First and foremost, the New Jersey Devils announced that their home opener will be on Friday, October 4 against the Winnipeg Jets.
Since other reporters and teams have announced their home openers, we know the following:
- According to tweets by Joe Yerdon of The Athletic Buffalo and Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News, the Buffalo Sabres will host the Devils for their home opener on Saturday, October 5. This means the Devils will open the 2019-20 season with a back-to-back set. Based on previous schedules, this may be the first of many. Knowing this now also means the team will definitely be off on October 6; teams cannot play three games in a row without league and union approval.
- The Philadelphia Flyers have announced on Twitter that they will host the Devils in their home opener on Wednesday, October 9.
- The Boston Bruins have also announced on Twitter that their home opener will be against the Devils on Saturday, October 12.
- As the Toronto Maple Leafs announced their home opener is on Wednesday, October 2 against Ottawa, then that will be the beginning of the 2019-20 season.
I am a fan of the Devils opening up their season at home and on a Friday night. With the incoming first overall draft pick, that should make for a large crowd of excited fans at the Rock to see what the Devils will do in 2019-20. The level of excitement will vary depending on what general manager Ray Shero and his staff does over the next two weeks.
I am not a huge fan of opening the season with a back-to-back set where the second opponent, Buffalo, has Friday night off. The beginning of the season can be a challenge for teams to get going as preseason for them would have ended around the past week. Having to play a rested opponent on the road adds to that challenge. At least Buffalo is not a very long trip away from Newark.
All the same, mark your calendars and start making plans. I hope to be at the home opener on October 4. Will you plan on being there? Are you excited for it now? Or will you be more excited after the Devils pick first tonight and go through free agency to hopefully put a stronger roster together? Please leave your thoughts and reactions to the early schedule news in the comments. Thank you for reading.