At 3 PM ET, regular season schedules for the 32 NHL teams began to be announced. Some announced full schedules. Some had videos ready to go to highlight certain games and dates. The New Jersey Devils did the latter. After a fun trip to Six Flags last year, Dougie Hamilton decided to operate a hydraulic press for objects representing some of those teams.
Time to (hydraulic) press go on 2023-24. pic.twitter.com/Z8Aw4t7xjg— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) June 27, 2023
Our Hated Rivals are represented by a roll of toilet paper. 10/10 video. A+.
Shortly after that lovely video was posted, the Devils announced their full schedule for the 2023-24 regular season. It begins on October 12 at home against Detroit. It ends on April 15 at home against the New York Islanders. Let us take a closer look at the schedule for what to expect next season.
The 2023-24 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 - 9 games: 4 home games, 5 road games, +1 total from last season
- Mondays - 6 games: 4 home games, 2 road games, -1 total from last season
- Tuesdays - 15 games - 7 home games, 8 road games, -2 total from last season
- Wednesdays - 7 games - 4 home games, 3 road games, +2 total from last season
- Thursdays - 15 games - 7 home games, 8 road games, -3 total from last season
- Fridays - 12 games - 6 home games, 6 road games, +3 total from last season
- Saturdays - 18 games - 9 home games, 9 road games, no change from last season
Keep in mind that one of those nine home games on Saturday this season will be at MetLife. The Devils will host the Second Rate Rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, in East Rutherford at 8 PM ET on February 17.
This coming season’s schedule has more games on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the cost of Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Which is favorable. One more weekend game at the cost of a weekday game is a plus. Friday is a better date for people to go out and/or spend time watching hockey than Thursday. The increase in Wednesday games suggest that the Devils could get more national television coverage. While that schedule has yet to come out, that is another mark in the rise of the Devils.
With respect to times, I counted 10 games before the traditional 7 PM ET start time. Two of the Devils’ four Sunday home games are earlier in the day: a 5 PM start against Minnesota on October 29 and a 1 PM start against Tampa Bay on February 25. Four of their five road games on Sunday will be before 7 PM: 4 PM on December 10 in Edmonton, 3:30 PM on March 3 in Los Angeles, 3:30 PM on March 17 in Las Vegas, and 5 PM on March 24 in Long Island. This hockey blogger is pleased with that. Also pleased with the 4 road games on Saturdays starting before 7: December 9 in Calgary at 4 PM, March 16 in Arizona is at 5 PM, January 13 in Florida is at 6 PM, and the final road game of the season in Philly on April 13 is at 5 PM. Yes, the two Alberta games will be happening at a reasonable time for those of us on the East Coast. You love to see it. Only two of the nine home games will start earlier than 7 PM though: March 9 against Carolina will start 12:30 PM and February 24 at 12:30 PM against Montreal.
In terms of weekday games, only two are scheduled outside of the 7 PM or 7:30 PM (or 7 PM their time for road games out West): November 24 (Black Friday) will have the Devils host Columbus at 3 PM; and January 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) in Boston will be at 1 PM.
Oddly, there are some months without any of these days represented. October has no Saturday games. Mondays will have no Devils games in November or December. Sundays and Tuesdays are clear for January. Wednesday and Fridays are free in February. Wednesday is open for March. Fridays are also free in April. This is a good segue as any to look into the schedule by month.
The 2023-24 Regular Season Schedule by Month
The schedule is 82 games and everyone will play everyone at least twice. That said, how a schedule is organized can play a role in terms of what to expect. For this coming season, expect more back-to-backs.
- October - 8 games - 6 home, 2 road, 2 back-to-back sets
- November - 13 games, 5 home, 8 road, 3 back-to-back sets (one goes into December)
- December - 14 games - 7 home, 7 road, 4 back-to-back sets (one starts in November)
- January - 12 games - 5 home, 7 road, 2 back-to-back sets
- February - 12 games - 8 home, 4 road, 2 back-to-back sets
- March - 15 games - 6 home, 9 road, 2 back-to-back sets
- April - 8 games - 4 home, 4 road, 2 back-to-back sets
- The Devils’ bye will run from January 28 through February 5. The 2024 All Star Weekend runs from February 1-4 in Toronto.
In terms of the most favorable months, that would be October, February, and April. The Devils will play most of October and February at home. While starting off the season with a back-to-back set is not ideal, it will be entirely at Newark. Traveling just to Long Island and Montreal within the first two and half weeks is a plus. In February, the Devils have one of their back-to-backs at home, they will start the month fresh off a break, and there are no trips. All of their road games are one-offs until their final game of the month in San Jose. April will has the Devils split evenly between games in and outside of New Jersey, they do not have to travel further than Ontario for those four road games, and they will mostly take on local teams that will know their fate by April. Those are the positive months of the schedule.
On the opposite end, the road-heavy months of November and March are more crammed than you think. November begins with a four game road trip with four games played within six days, Thanksgiving week is three games in four nights, and the month is bookended with a back-to-back set. March begins with two-thirds of the California trip, a four-game trip in the middle that starts in Manhattan and goes out to Dallas, Arizona, and Las Vegas - the latter being in a back to back set. And there are only two spots within March that have a two-day break between games. Those months speak to the grind of the season. December is busy too but at least the Devils will be home for five straight games of it, with home games bookending Christmas. And January is somewhat spaced out with no Sunday or Tuesday games
The Devils got a break of sorts with just 12 back-to-back sets of games last season. They will have 16 this season.
- October 12 vs. Detroit (home opener) & October 13 vs. Arizona
- October 24 at Montreal & October 25 vs. Washington
- November 2 at Minnesota & November 3 at St. Louis
- November 24 vs. Columbus & November 25 vs. Buffalo
- November 30 at Philadelphia & December 1 vs. San Jose
- December 9 at Calgary & December 10 at Edmonton
- December 16 at Columbus & December 17 vs Anaheim
- December 29 at Ottawa & December 30 at Boston
- January 5 vs. Chicago & January 6 vs. Vancouver
- January 19 at Columbus & January 20 vs. Dallas
- February 12 vs. Seattle & February 13 at Nashville
- February 24 vs. Montreal & February 25 vs. Tampa Bay
- March 16 at Arizona & March 17 at Las Vegas
- March 23 vs. Ottawa & March 24 at Islanders
- April 2 vs. Pittsburgh & April 3 at Our Hated Rivals
- April 6 at Ottawa & April 7 vs. Nashville
Out of these 16 back-to-backs, six involve at least one opponent within the division. Twelve have at least one road game, with three sets being entirely out West. Also, and mildly interesting, all games against Ottawa this season are involved in a back-to-back. Similarly, Carolina is not involved in any of these back-to-backs. They are spaced throughout the season so there is no real end to them. The last four games of the season are free from it, although those four are played on alternating days after that April 6-7 pair.
The 2023-24 Regular Season Schedule in Terms of Trips, Homestands, and Notable Dates
While the Devils will play more back-to-back sets, they do not have any extensive trips. The longest road trip of the season will be four games. That will happen three times. First: the Midwest Trip - November 2 through November 7 for Minnesota, St. Louis, Chicago, and Colorado. Second: the Western Canada Trip - December 5 through December 10 for Vancouver, Seattle, Calgary, and Edmonton. Third: the Last West Trip - March 11 through March 17: Our Hated Rivals, Dallas, Arizona, and Las Vegas. There are three trips lasting three games, including the traditional California trip (February 27 through March 3) but nothing is notable about those.
Similarly, the Devils only have one extended homestand beyond three games. They will play December 17 through December 27 all at home for five straight games. They will host, on alternating days and past Christmas, Anaheim, Philadelphia, Edmonton, Detroit, and Columbus. The Devils do have three stretches of three home games, including the first three games of the season.
The Devils thankfully do not have a week where they are just going to play the same opponent three times in four nights or something like that. No repeat of the run against Tampa Bay they had last season. There also is no Eastern Canada trip.
Here are some other days of note on the 2023-24 schedule that you may or may not want to circle on your calendar. As ever, times are subject to change as needed:
- Season Opener: October 12 vs. Detroit. Will the Yzerplan be further along? Will the Devils continue going from strength to strength from last season? We will first know on this date.
- Our Hated Rivals Dates: November 18 and February 22 at the Rock. March 11 and April 3 at the World’s Most Overrated Arena.
- Second Rate Rivals Dates: November 30 and April 13 in Philly. December 19 at the Rock. February 17 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
- Carolina Dates: January 25 and February 10 in Raleigh. March 9 in Newark.
- The First Western Conference Opponent: October 13 vs. Arizona.
- The First Western Conference Road Game: November 2 at Minnesota
- The Champions: Las Vegas will come to the Rock on January 22 and the Devils will visit Las Vegas on March 17. The latter will be the tougher game on paper due to a back-to-back set. We will know by then how good both teams really are, though. March 17 is also the last Western Conference game for the Devils on the road.
- The Expected Halloween Game: October 29 vs. Minnesota. Mischief Night Eve? Halloween’s Eve’s Eve? Whatever. Note that the Devils will be done with Minnesota less than 10 games into their season.
- Thanksgiving Games: November 22 at Detroit, November 24 vs. Columbus.
- Damon Severson’s Return: That same Black Friday game, November 24.
- Andrew Brunette’s Return with a Different Team: April 7 is when Nashville comes to the Rock; which is also the final Western Conference opponent of the season. The game in Nashville will be on February 13. You can call that the “Valentine’s Day” game too, although the Rock will probably promote that on February 12 when the Devils host Seattle.
- MacKenzie Blackwood’s Possible Return: San Jose comes to the Rock on December 1. Will Blackwood be on the roster then? Who knows.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Game: January 15 at Boston
- The Last Western Conference Game on the Road: 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 & the Season Closer: April 15 vs. Islanders Hopefully an unnecessary game for the Orange and Royal Blue crew.
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 add interest to some dates.
I should not be so surprised the Devils are back to 16 back-to-back sets after the reprieve of just 12 last season. They do not travel as much due to three local opponents, so that is the balance offered to the rest of the league. November and March will be tough ones to get through, but the Devils should have the quality to get results throughout. Not having a trip longer than four games is helpful. Even if there are three of four-game trips and two of them in the first half, there is an extra day of rest after each that is not so present in March’s trip.
Now that you read this breakdown, I want to know what you think. What do you think of the Devils’ 2023-24 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. (And yes, I saw the Blackwood trade as I saw this, that’s next.)