Daytime home opener, road-heavy finish highlight new Kraken 82-game slate

Florida Panthers v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 12: Eeli Tolvanen #20 of the Seattle Kraken warms up before the game against the Florida Panthers at Climate Pledge Arena on December 12, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Never before has there been a season opener like this. 

The Seattle Kraken released their 82-game regular season schedule on Tuesday, their fourth in the NHL, and will open at home for the first time ever when the St. Louis Blues visit Climate Pledge Arena on Tuesday, Oct. 8. 

“I wish we could get to there right now,” said Kraken head coach Dan Bylsma, shortly after his first day on the ice at Kraken Community Iceplex, in a freshly unpacked team track suit. 

Paired with the debut of Bylsma in his new role, the Kraken will also open the season under daytime conditions – part of a nationally televised tripleheader on ESPN. Anyone interested in getting a seat might as well prepare for a sick day from work. Seattle will serve as the lead-off game, dropping the puck in an extremely unique 1:30pm PT start. 

From there, matters will involve more of the routine with regards to the rigors of an NHL schedule, where the Kraken will aim to get back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing the postseason least year – ultimately leading to the dismissal of head coach Dave Hakstol. Six of the first nine games will open on home ice, before the Kraken take an adventurous five-game trip through the east coast, followed by one stop in Colorado for the finale on Nov. 5. 

The second five-game leg will offer a six-degrees-of-separation for the new Kraken bench boss. Stops in Buffalo (Jan. 11), Detroit (Jan. 12), and Pittsburgh (Jan. 14) will mark Bylsma’s return to his former NHL coaching stops for the first time since joining the Kraken. 

Bylsma was quick to shake off any hint of circling the calendar except for one date. 

“One thirty, on the eighth (of October),” said Bylsma, deadpanned with a smattering of laughter. 

“I did look at it, I haven’t circled them. We’re trying to win them all.” 

Among other dates, the Vegas Golden Knights visit Seattle on Nov. 8, also marking the first matchup for Chandler Stephenson in his new digs since leaving Vegas for Seattle on a seven-year deal, signed on Monday. The same goes for defenseman Brandon Montour, who won the Stanley Cup with the Florida Panthers last week, and will face his former team for the first time at Climate Pledge Arena on Dec. 10. 

The Edmonton Oilers, the runners up, will battle the Kraken in the first matchup on Jan. 4, while Utah HC, formerly the Arizona Coyotes, will meet the Kraken for the first time in Seattle on Dec. 30. 

The stretch drive will heat up shortly around the projected trade deadline with the Kraken on the road for a gauntlet: 17 of the final 27 games will be on the road, including nine of the final 14 and a five-game trip through four Pacific Division opponents and Utah. A home date with the Los Angeles Kings will wrap up the regular season on Apr. 15. 

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