The 2014-15 NHL season may have ended just last week, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to look forward to next season.
The Buffalo Sabres’ 2015-16 regular season schedule was released on Thursday, meaning that it’s time to plan out when to get to the rink to see the new-look Sabres in full form on the ice. What are the highlights of this year’s slate of games? Have a look.
The full schedule can be found here.
The new-look Sabres
The Sabres will open the season on Thursday, October 8 against the Ottawa Senators. This will be the first time fans will get to see a roster that includes Evander Kane, Sam Reinhart and the likely second-overall pick Jack Eichel in Buffalo blue and gold.
Matinees for everyone
One of the biggest highlights, or lowlights to some, is the fact that the Sabres have 10 afternoon home games next season. Of the 10 afternoon home games, seven of them are Saturday afternoons with a 1pm puck drop. The other three afternoon games have start times of 3pm and 12:30pm. The full list of afternoon tilts can be found below:
- October 10 vs. Tampa Bay (1pm)
- October 12 vs. Columbus (3pm)
- November 7 vs. Vancouver (1pm)
- December 19 vs. Chicago (1pm)
- January 2 vs. Detroit (1pm)
- February 14 vs. Colorado (12:30pm)
- February 21 vs. Penguins (12:30pm)
- March 5 vs. Minnesota (1pm)
- March 12 vs. Carolina (1pm)
- March 26 vs. Winnipeg (1pm)
Eichel vs. McDavid
One of the biggest dates many hockey fans will have circled this season will be when the top two picks of the 2015 NHL draft take on one another for the first time. The inaugural battle between Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel will take place on Sunday, December 6 in Edmonton. The two will square off again in Buffalo on March 1.
West Coast Sabres
As per usual, the Sabres have two west coast trips this season. The first trip takes place in early December when Buffalo travels to western Canada to take on Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary. The second trip takes them out to California at the end of February to face Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles.
Road Tripping/Home Cooking
The Sabres don’t have a very long road trip on their schedule at any point. In fact, their longest trips of the season will be three games at a time, which will take place on four separate occasions. On the other hand, the Sabres longest stretch of consecutive home games this season is also three. However, they do have a stretch to start the season where six of their first eight games are on home ice at the First Niagara Center.
The Champs come to town
For the third time in six years, South Buffalo’s Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks will come to town as the reigning Stanley Cup champions. The Sabres will host the Blackhawks in one of their 10 afternoon home games on December 19 at 1pm.
The Sabres play at home for three holiday games: Columbus Day against Columbus, Thanksgiving Eve against Nashville and New Year’s Eve against the New York Islanders. They also play in Arizona on Martin Luther King, Jr. day.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.