By: Trent Leith / August 10, 2023
The Canucks are entering their 53rd season and still searching for their first Stanley Cup. With the schedule now out, here are some key dates and takeaways from the 2023-24 schedule.
- October 11th and 14th vs. The Edmonton Oilers – The Canucks season opener is at home this year against divisional rivals and superstar Connor McDavid. Three days later the Canucks play out the second half of a home-and-home against the Oilers at Rogers Place.
- October 21st vs. The Florida Panthers – Next big game of note comes against the Panthers, last year’s Stanley Cup runner-ups. What makes this game interesting for Canucks fans is that it will be their first chance to see OEL in an opposing uniform since the Canucks acquired him from the Arizona Coyotes in 2021. This off-season, the Canucks bought out OEL for some short-term cap relief, leaving OEL free to look elsewhere and ending up with him signing a one-year deal in Florida.
- November 11th vs. The Toronto Maple Leafs – It is always a big deal when the Leafs face off against the Canucks, but this time will hurt more than usual as Luke Schenn returns to Vancouver for the first time since leaving at last year’s trade deadline. While he is a depth defender and not an everyday player on a strong team, he became a cult hero during his time in Vancouver and it will be a painful reminder of the good ol’ days of Schenn crushing players along the boards.
- November 15th vs. The New York Islanders – Former Canucks Captain Bo Horvat returns to Vancouver. This will be the first NHL game Horvat was played in Rogers Arena not in a Canucks uniform. Since his trade to the Islanders and signing a new contract, many Canucks fans have turned on the former captain they used to love, blaming him for “being greedy” and “chasing the money”. It will be interesting to see the reception fans give him in his return to Vancouver.
- November 30th vs. The Vegas Golden Knights – The Canucks will face off against divisional juggernauts, the Vegas Golden Knights, fresh off their first Stanley Cup win after only six years of being in the NHL. It will be a painful reminder to the Canucks of their long history of losing and coming so close to winning Stanley Cups, but ultimately falling short.
- December 5th vs. The New Jersey Devils – This will be the first time Quinn and Jack Hughes face off for the season, this time in Vancouver. While it is always fun to see these two elite brothers go head-to-head, there is a solid chance that a third brother, Luke Hughes, will enter the battle as well. With a strong showing in his three playoff games to end last season, Luke is likely to make the lineup for the Devils out of camp, and if we are lucky, we will see all three brothers play each other for the first, of many times to come.
- December 17th vs. The Chicago Blackhawks – The Canucks will face off against the previous first-overall pick in the NHL entry draft, Connor Bedard. Touted as a generational talent, Bedard might be the best player in the NHL by the time the Canucks get a chance to square up against him.
- January 11th vs. The Pittsburgh Penguins – It is always a treat when one of the NHL’s superstars faces off against the Canucks. Especially one with as much clout as Sidney Crosby. With the newly minted front office in Pittsburgh, the Penguins are making a full-court press into winning while Crosby, Malkin, and Letang still have gas in the tank. This time, a new superstar will be joining them, Erik Karlsson.
- January 20th vs. The Toronto Maple Leafs – It is always a big deal when the Leafs roll through town. Especially when there is an off-ice rivalry so intense between the two cities, this is one of the few games a year where Vancouverites get a taste of their own medicine for heading to Seattle Mariners games to watch the Blue Jays. Maple Leafs fans will flood into Rogers Arena and do their best to make an away game feel like a home game. These games are always a unique atmosphere to witness.
- January 22nd vs. The Chicago Blackhawks – Their old rivalry from over a decade ago may be dead, but there is more reason now than ever to tune into Canucks vs. Blackhawks games. The reason? Connor Bedard. The hometown kid will be facing off against his favourite childhood team for the first time in Vancouver. In a parallel universe, Bedard would play 41 games a year in Vancouver, but in the darkest timeline, Canucks fans won’t get to see him nearly that much.
- March 9th – 31st – This stretch of games includes nine games, and all of them are at home, giving the Canucks a serious advantage late in the season to rack up some points in the standings to make a playoff push. During this stretch of games, the Canucks will see no shortage of talent, including Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche and Alex Ovechkin in his pursuit to break Gretzky’s goal record. Also in this stretch, the Canucks will host the Montreal Canadiens, and just like when the Leafs come to town, Habs fans from all over BC will flood into Rogers Arena and turn the stadium from blue and green, to red and white.
- April 16th vs. The Calgary Flames – This marks the last home game of the season for the Canucks, and usually falls on fan appreciation night. This event usually has many giveaways for fans, and the 50/50 jackpot should also be inflated due to unclaimed winnings. Hopefully, the Canucks will be playing a meaningful game at this point in the season. Only time will tell.