Start planning your season now Leafsnation, because few other NHL teams have generated as much excitement heading into the 2018-2019 NHL season. If tickets were hard to come by last season when the team broke a franchise record with 105 points, you can imagine how difficult it will be this season, with Tavares in tow.
The Leafs signed the most coveted free agent of the last decade when they inked center John Tavares to a 7-year, $77 million contract on July 1st. The Olympic champion and former first-overall draft pick (2009) joins a budding cast of stars including Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Zach Hyman, Kasperi Kapanen, Connor Brown and Andreas Johnsson in Toronto and this season is bound to be more impressive than the last.
Under head coach Mike Babcock the Leafs made the playoffs for the second consecutive season and goalie Frederik Andersen broke the franchise record with 38 wins. With Tavares as the team’s would-be top center (Matthews might have something to say about that), expectations for the Leafs’ 2018-19 season are sky-high. Anything less than a second-round playoff series victory will be considered a failure, given their first-round losses in the last two years.
There are 82 games to play before next April and the Leafs released their season schedule on June 21st. Here’s a look at what’s in store for the Leafs next season:
Leafs Preseason Schedule:
The Preseason begins on September 18 with a back-to-back series against the Ottawa Senators in Lucan, Ontario as part of Kraft Hockeyville 2018.
All the Leafs’ preseason games are against division rivals including home and home games against the Buffalo Sabres (September 21 and 22), Montreal Canadiens (September 24 and 26) and Detroit Red Wings (September 28 and 29). These games are the best way to gauge the talent coming up the pipeline and see who will make the starting lineup on Oct. 3.
See the full preseason schedule and purchase Toronto Maple Leafs preseason tickets here.
Leafs Regular Season Schedule:
The Leafs open their season on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at the Scotiabank Arena (formerly the Air Canada Centre) against the Montreal Canadiens. This is the 16th time the teams have faced off in Toronto to kickstart the NHL season and what better way to set the tone than against a bitter rival who is headed to the NHL basement as the Leafs finally become contenders.
Notable games of the first month include a three-game homestead in mid-October that features games against the LA Kings, with newly signed Ilya Kovalchuk who returns to the NHL on a three-year deal after a five year absence in the KHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins who visit on Oct. 18, followed by the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 20, marking Tyler Bozak’s return to Toronto after signing with the Blues this offseason. Bozak spent nine seasons with the Leafs before agreeing to a three-year $15 million deal with the Blues.
Excitement for the upcoming season is at an all-time high and why not? This is the year many expect the Leafs to go all the way, meaning that tickets will be hard to come by. We will keep you posted on upcoming games and deals as the 2018-19 NHL season unfolds. Stay tuned!
See the full 2018-19 schedule and purchase Toronto Maple Leafs tickets here.