Signs celebrating the awarding of a new NHL team to...

Signs celebrating the awarding of a new NHL team to Utah is displayed at the Delta Center, Friday, April 19, 2024, in Salt Lake City. Utah Hockey Club will be the name of the NHL team playing its games in Salt Lake City beginning this fall, with a long term identity still to come. Credit: AP/Rick Bowmer

The Utah Hockey Club will play its first regular-season game Oct. 8 against Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks, marking the debut of the NHL in Salt Lake City following the team's move from Arizona.

That same night, the Florida Panthers will raise their first Stanley Cup banner to the rafters in Sunrise, Florida, before facing off against the Boston Bruins.

The NHL released the list of home openers for each of its 32 teams Monday with the full 1,312-game regular-season schedule expected this week.

Utah, which is expected to have a permanent name in time for the 2025-26 season, will play at the Delta Center, home of the NBA's Utah Jazz, an arena that will undergo renovations to provide more unobstructed views for NHL games. The capacity is 16,200 for the inaugural season, with not all directly facing the ice, but the demand has been high with 30,000 season-ticket deposits.

“We are thrilled to play the first regular season game in franchise history, at home, in front of our amazing fans,” president of hockey operations Chris Armstrong said. “The eyes of the hockey world will be on Utah when we host the Blackhawks on that historic night, and we look forward to rising to the occasion.”

The second day of the season is rivalry night with the New York Rangers visiting Pittsburgh; Toronto at Montreal; and Colorado at Vegas. Avalanche-Golden Knights is a matchup of the 2022 and '23 Cup champions.

Trade time

Cole Beaudoin, center bottom, heads to the podium after being...

Cole Beaudoin, center bottom, heads to the podium after being selected by the Utah Hockey Club during the first round of the NHL hockey draft Friday, June 28, 2024, in Las Vegas. Credit: AP/Steve Marcus

In the middle of a free agent frenzy that saw teams around the league commit nearly $1 billion in contracts, some teams in the Eastern Conference made trades to fill important holes.

The Rangers acquired winger Reilly Smith from the Penguins for a 2027 second-round pick and a conditional fifth-rounder in ‘25. Pittsburgh retained 25% of Smith’s salary, meaning New York gets him at $3.75 million for next season. Smith has now been traded twice in just over a year since helping Vegas win the Cup.

Washington followed through on general manager Brian MacLellan's plan to change the mix on defense by acquiring Jakob Chychrun from Ottawa for Nick Jensen and a 2026 third-round pick.

“Jakob is a 26-year-old offensive defenseman who has nearly 500 games of NHL experience,” MacLellan said. “His unique skill set and experience will undoubtedly bolster our blue line, substantially increasing our offensive capabilities."

Florida Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk, left, and Kyle Okposo, right, celebrate...

Florida Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk, left, and Kyle Okposo, right, celebrate with the Stanley Cup during an NHL hockey parade and rally, Sunday, June 30, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Panthers defeated the Edmonton Oilers to win the championship series. Credit: AP/Marta Lavandier

Extension season

The Nashville Predators, who committed more than $110 million to sign free agents Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Marchessault, Brady Skjei and Scott Wedgewood, paid another big price to keep their franchise goaltender around for the long term.

The team agreed to terms Monday with Juuse Saros on an eight-year extension worth $61.92 million — an annual cap hit of $7.74 million, a nod to his jersey No. 74 and his status as one of the best at the position.

“We’ve long envisioned Juuse spending his NHL career with the Predators, and this is the next step in that process,” GM Barry Trotz said. "His competitiveness and work ethic will help him build even further on the success he’s already enjoyed as our starting goaltender.”

Toronto also extended its goalie of the present and future, signing Joseph Woll to a three-year, $11 million contract that runs through 2028. Woll is expected to share the net with Anthony Stolarz, who backed up Sergei Bobrovsky on Florida's Cup run after a career-best regular season with a 2.03 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

Philadelphia signed gritty winger Garnet Hathaway to a $4.8 million extension through 2026-27. Hathaway, who will count $2.4 million against the cap during that contract, has been a good fit since signing with the Flyers in free agency a year ago.

"Garnet has been a great addition to our team and we’re very happy to extend him ... for the next several seasons,” general manager Danny Briere said. “His style of play and level of professionalism had a big effect on our group last season, and he embodies the standard our team set out to build both on and off the ice.”


FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.