The NHL recently released the upcoming schedule for the 2018-19 season. With the draft now over and free agency about the begin, teams are beginning to leave last season as a memory and are looking ahead for what’s in store next year.
The Winnipeg Jets are no strangers to scheduling quirks as they had a ridiculous ten game homestand last season and didn’t have to leave Winnipeg for nearly a month. In other seasons it was the opposite as Winnipeg frequently had one of the toughest schedules in regards to number of miles being travelled. The central location of Manitoba has many positive aspects, but having to fly so many miles each year presents a different challenge, especially for younger players who are new to the hectic schedule.
So what quirks does the schedule have for next season?
The Jets open their season with a two game road trip in St. Louis and Dallas on Thursday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct 6. Opening the season on the road can be tough but many players like early road trips because they can build chemistry and help the team bond with one another. The Jets come home after their first two games for the home opener on Tuesday, Oct. 9 against the Los Angeles Kings. As for other important dates, the Jets take on the team who eliminated them not so long ago when the Golden Knights come to town on Jan. 15.
The 2018-19 schedule has arrived! ?
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) June 21, 2018
There will be no ten game homestand for the Jets next season as their longest streak at home is a mere six games. This homestand also happens very early on as it covers games five through ten. Beyond these six straight games at home, the Jets don’t have any other long stretches in Winnipeg. There are no five game homestands and the Jets only have a four game homestand three separate times.
While the schedule might not look great in regards to consecutive games at home, it is quite favourable on the road. The Jets longest road trip is only four games which happens three times during the year. The Jets road trips are more frequently only three games long as they embark on these trips five separate times. There will be an interesting contrast between last season and the upcoming one as the Jets have smaller road trips and homestands going forward. While this might seem positive, the Jets will have to be wary of so much travel back and forth with small sets of both home and away games.
Finally, a glance at some of the finer details from the 2018-19 season! pic.twitter.com/tGhx6APFhs
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) June 21, 2018
In regards to how compact the schedule is, the Jets play ten sets of back to back games compared to last season where they only played nine. These back to backs consist mainly of away games as there are seven back to backs where both games are on the road. As for the Jets bye-week, it will happen right before the All-star break on which means the Jets will be off from Jan. 20 – 28.
The Jets have something new to look forward to next season as they are heading across the ocean to Finland as part of the NHL Global Series. The Jets will faceoff against the Panthers in two games at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland on Thursday, Nov. 1 and Friday, Nov. 2. This should make for a unique atmosphere as the crowd will surely be dominated with jerseys from our very own Patrik Laine.
What is the most important part of the schedule next year?
Look no further than Mar. 16 – Mar. 25. The Jets play six straight games against Western Conference opponents at the most pivotal time of the year. These six games are highlighted by three games in four nights where the Jets visit Los Angeles before a back to back in Anaheim and Vegas. These games will have plenty of significance as all of these teams will be battling for spots near the top of their respective divisions.
The Jets schedule definitely looks a little bit easier for 2018-19 than it has in years past. The homestands might not be as long, but neither are the road trips. Even though the Jets have to play ten back to back situations, they should be able to get through it by being able to frequently get home and rest throughout the year.