The NHL released the 2022-23 regular season schedule this afternoon. All 32 teams. All 1,312 games. From October 7, 2022 in Prague to fifteen games on the final day, which is April 13, 2023. The New Jersey Devils announced their 82-game schedule here, which will begin on October 13, 2022 in Philadelphia and end on April 13, 2023 in Washington D.C. As is tradition, let us take a closer look at the New Jersey Devils schedule to see what we can learn from it.
The 2022-23 Regular Season Schedule by Day
In line with past seasons, the Devils’ busiest days of the week will be Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Here is a count by day of the week:
- Sundays - 8 games - 5 home games, 3 road games, -2 total from last season
- Mondays - 7 games - 3 home games, 4 road games, +2 total from last season
- Tuesdays - 17 games - 11 home games, 6 road games, -1 total from last season
- Wednesdays - 5 games - 2 home games, 3 road games, -1 total from last season
- Thursdays - 18 games - 9 home games, 9 road games, +2 total from last season
- Fridays - 9 games - 3 home games, 6 road games, no change in total from last season
- Saturdays - 18 games - 8 home games, 10 road games, no change from last season
Those three days of the week are not just the most popular dates for games played by the Devils but also for games played at the Rock. I think the Devils’ announcement mixed up a number somewhere because I counted 8 home games on Saturdays and their announcement has 9. But that is OK - both days of the week have plenty of home games to go around.
Related to days, the vast majority of games have a 7 PM local time start. There are only a handful of afternoon/early evening games this season. Only 5 on Saturdays (October 22 vs. San Jose, November 19 at Ottawa, January 7 vs. Our Hated Rivals, February 18 at Pittsburgh, March 18 at Florida); 3 on Sundays (October 30 vs. Columbus, January 1 vs. Carolina, and January 22 vs. Pittsburgh); and a 4 PM ET game on January 16, 2023 in San Jose. I know that’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I am not sure if San Jose usually hosts an afternoon game on that day, but they are doing it in 2023.
The 2022-23 Regular Season Schedule by Month
While a lot can change in the NHL between now and when the games begin, you can look at the monthly schedule and get a sense of which ones may be tougher than over. While October has plenty of home games, there will be no full on home stand to begin the season. November and March look particularly nasty on paper between how the games are structured and who they are playing. Here is an overview:
- October - 9 games - 6 home, 3 road, 1 back-to-back set
- November - 14 games, 6 home, 8 road, 1 back-to-back set
- December - 13 games - 8 home, 5 road, 2 back-to-back sets
- January - 13 games - 5 home, 8 road, 3 back-to-back sets
- February - 10 games - 6 home, 4 road, 1 back-to-back set
- March - 16 games - 7 home, 9 road, 3 back-to-back sets
- April - 7 games - 3 home, 4 road, 1 back-to-back set
Additionally, there are no Wednesday games at all for October, February, and April. There are no Sunday games at all in November and December. February and April also have no Friday games.
If there is a negative to the schedule, then it is that the schedule leans more road-heavy in the final two months of the season and it is still going to be very busy. There are a lot of three-games-in-five-night and four-games-in-seven-night weeks to account for the reduction in back-to-backs. The end of January and start of February will be a week off for the Devils. That does include the All Star Game break from February 2 through February 5, 2023. But once February begins, they only have two weeks of games with fewer than three games until the end of the season - and that includes the last week of the season. Further, if the team does repeat its last two seasons and fades out of contention within the first third of the schedule, then those home games in December are going to get sad.
If there is a positive to this year’s schedule, then it is in the number of back-to-back sets the Devils have to play. Normally, the Devils would play a lot of them to offset their lack of travel distance due to three teams being within driving distance of Newark (four if you want to include Washington). This season, they will play just 12 - which is a relief from 15 in 2021-22 and a planned 16 in 2019-20. That will represent about 30% of the season, a drop from ~37% from last season. Here is a list of what those back to backs are:
- October 24 vs. Washington & October 25 at Detroit
- November 25 at Buffalo & November 26 vs. Washington
- December 12 at Our Hated Rivals & December 13 vs. Dallas
- December 20 at Carolina & December 21 at Florida
- January 4 at Detroit & January 5 vs. St. Louis
- January 13 at Anaheim & January 14 at Los Angeles
- January 26 at Nashville & January 27 at Dallas
- February 18 at Pittsburgh & February 19 vs. Winnipeg
- March 11 at Montreal & March 12 vs. Carolina
- March 18 at Florida & March 19 at Tampa Bay
- March 24 at Buffalo & March 25 vs. Ottawa
- April 1 at Chicago & April 2 at Winnipeg
Six of these back-to-backs include divisional opponents, including both home games against the Caps and two of four total against Carolina. There are no back-to-back home-and-homes with the same opponent. However, it is worth noting that these sets include both road games against Buffalo, both road games against Detroit, both road games against Florida (oof), and both games against Winnipeg and Dallas. What that ultimately means is that those games could be a bit tougher than expected. That may not be ideal if the Devils are needing points down the stretch of the season.
The 2022-23 Regular Season Schedule in Terms of Trips, Homestands, and Notable Dates
This season’s schedule does not have any particularly long stretches of home or road games. The longest trip is five games from January 10 through January 19 that will see the Devils go to Carolina, the three California teams (Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose in four days), and ending in Seattle. There is a four-game trip in February, but that is spread across eight days so it is not as taxing. Plus it runs through Minnesota, Columbus, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh. The longest homestand is four games long from February 19 through February 25, which is four games in seven nights. Not ideal but the Rock will host Winnipeg, Montreal, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Should those teams not improve much over last season, that is a prime week to get results - on paper at least.
Instead of extended trips, the schedule has more three-game swings both home and away from the Rock. For example, the Western Canada trip (Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary - Nov. 1 through Nov. 5) and an Eastern Canada trip (Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa - Nov. 15 through Nov. 19). are both in three-games-in-five-night packages in November. They sandwich a week of three games at home against Calgary, Ottawa, and Arizona from Nov. 8 through Nov. 12. December has another three-game home stand in five days with Dallas, Philly, and Florida from Dec. 13 to Dec. 17. The three-game swings end in March with the month beginning on the road in Colorado, Las Vegas, and Arizona from Mar. 1 through Mar. 5; and at home from Mar. 12 to Mar. 16 with Carolina and two straight games of Tampa Bay.
It is worth noting that, again if last season is any indication, March is going to be a really tough one on paper. It opens against the defending champions on the road followed by a road game against a Las Vegas team that presumably wants to prove a point after last season. The Devils will play every other night or back-to-back until March 22 from March 1. This is a run that has at Colorado, at Las Vegas, at Arizona, vs. Toronto, at Washington, at Montreal, vs. Carolina, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Tampa Bay again, at Florida, at Tampa Bay, and vs. Minnesota. If the Devils are on the playoff bubble by then, well, that would be a big improvement over the last two seasons. Still, those 21 days look daunting now and could be a real problem if the Devils need results out of those games. Getting Tampa Bay three times with Carolina and Florida over an eight day period is especially challenging. At least the two straight Calgary games in November have two days between them. And Boston has a whole holiday break between those two. Tampa Bay three times within six days is a very tough draw.
Here are some other days of note on the 2022-23 schedule that you may or may not want to circle on your calendar. Free agency will take place on July 13 so some days may become
- Season Opener: October 13 at Philadelphia. The Devils will get the first crack at a potentially new-look Flyers team.
- Second Rate Rivals Dates: October 13 and December 3 in Philadelphia. December 15 and February 25 at the Rock
- Season Home Opener: October 15 vs. Detroit. It’s a 7 PM Saturday night start. The Rock should be electric for it - right?
- The First Western Game: October 18 vs. Anaheim. If you insist this must be a road game, that is not too long after on November 1 in Vancouver.
- The Champions: October 28 vs. Colorado. The road game will be on March 1. Neither will be easy.
- Likely Halloween Game: October 30 vs. Columbus. Of course, it’s Columbus. Who else has been haunting the Devils so much? At least in the East? Or the division? Nevermind. It just works, OK?
- Likely Thanksgiving Game: November 23 vs. Toronto. Black Friday is in Buffalo and while I know they host Washington on the 26th, it would make more sense to do the holiday thing right before it instead of two days after it.
- Our Hated Rivals Dates: November 28 and December 12 at the World’s Most Overrated Arena. January 7 and March 30 at the Rock.
- Likely Christmas Game: December 23 vs. Boston. The league will be off for Christmas, and I would gather any holiday celebrations could last the month. But the last game before the break will likely be the focal point.
- DeBoer’s Return with a Different Team: December 13 vs. Dallas. This is also Alain Nasreddine’s Return
- New Year’s Day: January 1 vs. Carolina - It’s at 3 PM, so there’s that. It’s nice.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Game: January 14 at San Jose - I know some teams host an afternoon game as the holiday does make more people available. The Islanders did it a lot, for example. Local fans should be able to see some of the game even if they are working that Monday as it is a 4 PM ET start time.
- “Valentine’s Day:” February 14 at Columbus. Devils are in Ohio. Against a team they have struggled against for years. I do not love this.
- Say Hi to Jets Legend Herm Edwards If He’s Still There: March 5 at Arizona. The Devils will get the ASU Sun Devils arena experience on this evening.
- Likely St. Patrick’s Day Night: March 16 vs. Tampa Bay. It will be on Friday, March 17 this year, so I would think they would do it the night before as with Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc.
- The Last Western Game: April 2 at Winnipeg. And it is right after playing in Chicago the night before. Please leave something in the tank on the way up to Manitoba.
- Fan Appreciation Night: April 11 vs. Buffalo. Traditionally, it is the final home game of the season and that is what this is.
- The Season Closer: April 12 at Washington. Hopefully the Caps do not need that game for anything.
Expect such a list to grow as the offseason goes on. As players are signed and/or moved, some will gain (or lose!) interest. As theme nights are announced, that will help too. I guessed a few here, so I could end up being wrong on some of them.
I am pleasantly surprised with just 12 back-to-backs on the schedule. I am not looking particularly forward to March. I am still unsure how the team will do through November between the two trips into Canada and the fact that the Devils have started what turned out to be a free fall in the second month of their campaign for the last few seasons. I do want to be hopeful, but that will depend on what the Devils do over the next few weeks.
Now that you read this breakdown, I want to know what you think. What do you think of the Devils’ 2022-23 schedule overall? What traits about this season’s schedule do you like and dislike? Which dates are you looking forward to? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the Devils’ schedule for this coming season. Thank you for reading.