SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers have been fresh in the minds of hockey fans so far this offseason, and for good reason.
Last week’s NHL Draft saw the Panthers snag goaltender Spencer Knight, perhaps the best goalie prospect the league has seen in a decade, in the first round.
Florida is also linked to the two biggest free agents currently available this summer; forward Artemi Panarin and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
This week is when unrestricted free agents are free to meet with teams and negotiate deals, but nothing can be officially signed until noon on Monday, July 1st.
With a blessing from ownership to spend money, and plenty of room under the salary cap to throw it around, the Panthers are expected to make a big splash in the coming days.
Needless to say, the upcoming season could very well be one of the most exciting in franchise history and a jumping off point for the Panthers to escape their seemingly permanent relegation to hockey mediocrity.
On Tuesday the NHL released the full schedule for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
For the Panthers, that means another season opening with a home-and-home against cross-state rival Tampa Bay.
The season opener in Tampa will be on Thursday, October 3rd while Florida’s home opener will come two days later.
The Panthers open the season with 12 of their first 18 games on the road.
That’s immediately followed by 14 of 16 at home, including a franchise record 9-game homestand.
Of Florida’s 41 home games, here is how they break down based on the days of the week.
Two games on Monday, six on Tuesday, none on Wednesday, 12 on Thursday, two on Friday, 14 on Saturday and five on Sunday.
That means more than half of the Panthers home games will be played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
HOLIDAY HOME GAMES
Florida plays more home games during the month of December (10) than any other month during the regular season.
There is a nine game homestand that runs between November 30th and December 20th. Following the Christmas break, the Panthers play their final two home games of 2019 on the 28th and the 29th against Detroit and Montreal, respectively.
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
The longest road trip on Florida’s schedule is five games, lasting from February 17th to the 25th. They’ll visit San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Vegas and Arizona.
Additionally, the Panthers play more road games in February (10) than any other month.
There will be plenty of themed nights for fans to look forward to this season, including the return of Star Wars Night, Panther Conservation Night, Military Appreciation Night, Pride Night, Grateful Dead Night, Hockey Fights Cancer Night and more.
The Panthers are also bringing back $5 beer Thursdays (and there are 12 Thursday home games).
To see the full schedule, click here.