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Bad Blood

NHL 2021-22 schedule release: Most intriguing games, Seattle Kraken revenge tour, key dates

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With the schedule for next season finalized, here are the dates we have circled on our calendars.
If it seems to you like the 2020-21 NHL season just ended, you're not incorrect: the Stanley Cup was awarded on July 7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. But the league has spun forward to the offseason and preparations for 2021-22 quickly:

The expansion draft was held Wednesday, in which the Seattle Kraken selected 30 players

The entry draft will be held Friday and Saturday, in which 224 players will be selected (and some others might be traded)

Free agency will begin on July 28

And if that wasn't enough, we now have the official 2021-22 regular season schedule, which was released on Thursday.

It can be a burden to analyze 1,312 games. So here are the matchups we have circled on our calendars, along with the schedule for the All-Star and Olympic breaks, the outdoor games, and the Kraken "Revenge Tour," i.e. the first game each player exposed to expansion will play against his former team.

Key Matchups

Tuesday, Oct. 12: Seattle Kraken at Vegas Golden Knights

The last two expansion teams to join the NHL face off on opening night. We'll go ahead and guess that the pregame festivities in Vegas will involve a golden knight prevailing against a CGI squid.

Wednesday, Oct. 13: Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs blew a 3-1 series lead against the Canadiens in the first round of the 2021 playoffs -- then saw Montreal make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. That wasn't easy for Toronto to watch. The Maple Leafs knew they were the more talented team. Toronto can't exorcise its playoff demons until next spring, but the Leafs can get some cathartic revenge in their first game of the season.

Wednesday, Oct. 23: Vancouver Canucks at Seattle Kraken

The first regular-season home game for the Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena, and the first meeting between Seattle and its geographic rival to the north. It'll be intense, but in the end we hope they can find common ground over a mutual love of the Seahawks.

Tuesday, Oct. 26: Vegas Golden Knights at…
Emily Kaplan, Greg Wyshynski
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