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Maple Leafs open the season with series of grudge matches and other schedule key dates

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Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
20 days ago
With the Toronto Maple Leafs kicking off their 2024-25 season with games against the Canadiens (October 9th in Montreal), Sheldon Keefe (October 10th in New Jersey), and Kyle Dubas (the Leafs’ home opener on October 12th), it’s safe to say they better come out of the gates flying.
The schedule maker put a lot of pressure on the new Maple Leafs’ coaching staff to nail the training camp and the Leafs will be a team that has something to prove from day one in a season that presently carries the possibility of being the last for Mitch Marner and John Tavares.

Some of the key things to note in the Leafs’ schedule

  • The Leafs have 16 back-to-backs this season and are front loaded on their schedule with easier time in the new year.
  • Their longest stretch without hockey comes during the NHL Four Nations Face-Off and they will be off from February 9th to February 22nd.
  • They have four stretches of three days or more off between games including their Christmas break which goes from December 23rd to December 27th.
  • December and March will be the heaviest months of hockey for the Maple Leafs with 15 games in each.
  • The final game of the season will be April 17th against Detroit.
  • The Maple Leafs have three four game homestands, which are the long homestands of the year for them.
  • The Maple Leafs have two four game road trips, which are their longest stretches on the road.
  • The Leafs are also scheduled for three afternoon games this season.

And now for the key matchups

  • After the Morgan Rielly and Ridly Greig incident last season, fans were robbed of seeing the Leafs and Sens go at it again. There won’t be a long wait for the two teams to face each other as they play in Toronto on November 12th. Maybe there will also be a Noah Gregor tribute.
  • The Leafs will have faced Sheldon Keefe on October 10th, but he will return to Toronto on January 16th.
  • The Leafs will face the Stanley Cup Champion Florida Panthers on November 27th. That will likely be when Anthony Stolarz and Oliver Ekman-Larsson will receive their championship rings.
  • Craig Berube will return to St. Louis on November 2nd, he’ll face them earlier in Toronto on October 24th.
  • Tyler Bertuzzi and TJ Brodie will return to Toronto on December 2nd.
  • Given that his time in Dallas was short, I’m sure the Calgary homecoming for Chris Tanev is more significant, as well as it’s another opportunity for the Flames to shun Brad Treliving. That will happen on February 4th.
  • The Leafs get to relive their Bruins nightmare for the first time of the season on October 26th.
  • Ilya Samsonov and the Golden Knights come to Toronto on November 20th.
  • The Leafs first look at the Utah team comes on November 24th and they will play there on. Toronto will make its first trip to Utah on March 10th.
  • The Leafs’ California road trip will take place from March 27th to March 30th.
  • The Leafs’ Western Canadian (and Seattle) road trip takes place from February 1st to February 8th.

Key league dates

The Four Nations Face-Off runs from February 12-20, so that can be a potentially busy time for Matthews, Nylander, and likely a few other Leafs (Marner is a lock for Canada, but depending on injuries it’s possible that Jarnkrok, Holmberg, Ekman-Larsson, Liljegren, Hakanpaa, Rielly, and Tavares could all get consideration.)
All 32 teams will play on October 22nd in the Frozen Frenzy. The Leafs will face the Blue Jackets that night.
The NHL trade deadline will fall on or around March 7th. It was on March 8th this season and with the previous weekend having an outdoor game it seems unlikely the league will stack their events.
The playoffs will likely begin April 19th.

Summary

The Leafs having 16 back-to-back games is a lot. That’s 39% of their schedule and perhaps it’s a good thing to go the goaltending tandem route to manage that. It’s also likely to going to make depth important and it will be interesting to see if Craig Berube wants to use all 23 roster spots to get three fresh skaters on a regular basis for the second games.
On a more positive note, the fact that more of the back-to-backs occur in the first half of the season, the Leafs will be able to rest more down the stretch and not head into the playoffs exhausted. The team has a few more old bodies on it that could benefit from rest and healing.
The full Maple Leafs schedule can be found here.

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