Next year’s NHL international schedule:— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 27, 2018
— Devils-Oilers open their regular season with two games in Sweden.
— Jets-Panthers play two games in Helsinki in November.
— China, TBA.
It has been rumoured for about a month now that the Winnipeg Jets were being looked at to play two games in Finland in the middle of next season. It has been confirmed by Chris Johnston of Sportsnet and will probably be officially announced by the NHL later today or tomorrow as they are in the governor meeting today.
The Winnipeg Jets are an unsurprising choice as they feature Finnish star Patrik Laine. They also have Finn Joel Armia as a regular in their lineup. On the Florida Panthers side, Aleksander Barkov is emerging as one of the great two-way forces in the NHL. It makes sense for these two teams to be used by the NHL to promote the game overseas.
On other Finnish news, Jets prospect Kristian Vesalainen has been having a great season the SM-Liiga after spending last season between HPK (his current team) and Frolunda in the SHL. The Jets might try to bring him over this summer as he is almost a point-per-game as an 18 year old.