At least the Kraken should be well broken-in and traveled as a team by the time it finally takes the ice for its Oct. 23 home opener against the Vancouver Canucks at Climate Pledge Arena.
The team’s schedule, released Thursday by the NHL, has the Kraken opening with five road games in eight nights that takes it to the East Coast and back. Its very first game, as announced by the league at Wednesday’s expansion draft, is Oct. 12 in Vegas against the Golden Knights as the second half of an opening night doubleheader that starts in Tampa Bay with the Lightning raising its third championship banner ahead of playing the Pittsburgh Penguins.
For the Kraken, its debut will be the first of five road games played cross-country from Vegas, to Nashville, then Columbus, Philadelphia and New Jersey before venturing back home with a few days’ rest before the Canucks home opener. It won’t take long for Seattle fans to catch an “Original Six” team as the Stanley Cup finalist Montreal Canadiens and goaltender Carey Price are set to visit Climate Pledge three nights later Oct. 26, followed by the Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers visiting that homestand.
Game times and broadcast schedules have yet to be announced.
The Kraken’s opening road swing isn’t nearly as bad as the New York Islanders, also hit by delays in opening their new UBS Arena on Long Island. The Islanders play 13 consecutive road games before finally opening at home Nov. 20 against Calgary.
The Kraken visits the champion Lightning on Nov. 26, and Tampa Bay travels here March 16.
The team’s first regular season concludes April 29 at home against San Jose.
It’s not yet clear whether the NHL will participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing due to ongoing health and safety talks in light of COVID-19, so there’s a Feb. 7-22 break inserted in the schedule. The NHL says it will issue a revised schedule with as little disruption to this one as possible in the event it does not participate in the Games.
With two balanced conferences of 16 teams, the format changes slightly from pre-COVID-19 campaigns. Each team will play either three or four games against the seven other teams in its own division, three games against the eight teams in the other division in its conference and two apiece versus the 16 squads in the opposite conference.