4. Winter Classic: Vegas Golden Knights @ Seattle Kraken — Jan. 1, 2024 12:00 p.m. PST
Per tradition, the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic, 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic, and 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series will each deliver exhilarating outdoor match-ups. An outdoor hockey game is a unique experience that should be on every NHL fan’s bucket list. Here’s why you should check out this season’s Winter Classic.
The reigning Stanley Cup champions and second-newest NHL organization, the Vegas Golden Knights, will take on the newest NHL organization, the Seattle Kraken, in the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day 2024. What better way to celebrate the new year than by bundling up in your knit hat, hand warmers, winter coat, and favorite jersey and heading to Seattle? The big game takes place at T-Mobile Park, home of MLB’s Seattle Mariners.
The Golden Knights won the Pacific Division in 2022-23 with 111 points. The organization has made the playoffs five out of six seasons in its short history. The 2022-23 season marked their first Stanley Cup win. In an early look at Stanley Cup odds in August, Bleacher Report listed the Golden Knights as having the sixth-best odds to win the Cup this season, utilizing DraftKings. The way they've played so far says they deserved to be higher on that list. The Golden Knights started off the 2023-24 season undefeated through seven games. Golden Knights center Jack Eichel had a strong 2022-23 season, including an electric playoff performance, and he looks strong this season, too.
The Kraken had a massive improvement in the 2022-23 season, following their 60-point inaugural season with a 100-point sophomore season. The fledgling Pacific Division team has already made its first franchise playoff appearance, reaching the second round in 2023. Fourth place in the Pacific Division last year, they earned a Western Conference wild-card spot. Seattle was eliminated by the Dallas Stars in the Conference Semi-Finals. Kraken center Matty Beniers is fresh off of a Calder Memorial Trophy win as last season’s most proficient NHL rookie. The Kraken haven't had the best start to the season, but they have the talent in the lineup to turn things around.
The two newest NHL franchises have already provided thrills, and this season is sure to bring more. In addition to Jan. 1, the Kraken and Golden Knights meet up on March 21, 2024, in Vegas and March 12, 2024, in Seattle. They also met up on Oct. 10, 2023, with the Golden Knights winning the game.
Key Golden Knights: Jack Eichel, Jonathan Marchessault, Brett Howden, Alex Pietrangelo, Adin Hill
Underrated Golden Knight: Brayden McNabb
Golden Knights’ X-Factor: Paul Cotter
Key Kraken: Jared McCann, Matty Beniers, Jordan Eberle, Vince Dunn, Adam Larsson
Underrated Kraken: Eeli Tolvanen
Kraken X-Factor: Tye Kartye