There's only one thing more exciting than the annual release of the upcoming season's schedule and that's making plans to be at all of the biggest games of the year. With the regular season just around the corner, here are ten games you absolutely cannot miss at Rogers Arena in 2017.18.
10. Thursday, November 16 - Vegas Golden Knights
Hockey history will be made in mid-November and who wouldn't want to be a part of that? A new division rivalry will be born when the Golden Knights face off against the Canucks officially for the first time. We already know a few familiar names that are on the Vegas roster including ex-Canucks Luca Sbisa and Jason Garrison, but the Golden Knights could look drastically different between now and the time they get to Vancouver. But regardless of which players actually suit up for Vegas' inaugural season, the chance to see a debuting NHL team make their first visit to a city is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
9. Sunday, December 17 - Calgary Flames
Are the Flames the most improved team in the Western Conference? They certainly feel that way following their off-season shake-up. The acquisitions of rugged defenceman Travis Hamonic and goaltender Mike Smith gives the Flames a big boost not only in talent but in team toughness so those usually chippy affairs figure to get even more intense. Add in the fact this game will be the fourth meeting between the teams in less than three months - as well as their final head-to-head meeting of the season - and you can expect to see some fireworks in this one.
8. Thursday, November 1 - New Jersey Devils
Canucks fans will get their first chance to see the 2017 first overall pick - Nico Hischier - in action for the very first time when the Devils make their lone visit of the season to Rogers Arena in the midst of a five-game home stand for Vancouver. It's been quite some time since the Devils have been a must-see team but that figures to change with the addition of Hischier. Along with Taylor Hall, also a former first overall pick, the duo gives the Devils one-two punch that they haven't had since the days of Patrik Elias and Zach Parise. They might actually give ex-Canuck goalie Cory Schneider, who has won in his last two straight visits to Vancouver, some goal support for a change.
7. Monday, March 5 - New York Islanders
Those who recall the 2009 Canadian world junior squad under the tutelage of the late, great Pat Quinn will remember the chemistry that John Tavares and Jordan Eberle shared leading Canada to gold. Those two could very well rekindle some of that magic with Eberle now in the Islanders fold. The reunion might be short-lived, however, with Tavares slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end meaning this could be potentially be the one and only time fans in Vancouver get to see Eberle and Tavares together.
6. Tuesday, December 19 - Montreal Canadiens
The Habs don't need to create any additional buzz whenever they're in town but you can bet the local Canadiens supporters - and many Canucks fans as well - will be clamouring to see Jonathan Drouin now wearing bleu, blanc et rouge. Drouin has a long way to go before he can be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of former Francophone greats like Maurice Richard and Guy Lafleur but that won't stop the fans' expectations from being sky high. All eyes will be on him this night at Rogers Arena whether you're a Canucks fan or a Habs fan.
5. Saturday, November 4 - Pittsburgh Penguins
Seeing the defending Stanley Cup champions in action is always a must. When that team also happens to boast the best player on the planet - Sidney Crosby - on their roster and they only make one stop in Vancouver, that's more than enough reason to make sure you're in the stands. The Pens may have lost a few key pieces of their team after their second consecutive championship but they are still clearly the team to beat especially for the Canucks who will be looking to test themselves against the best and hopefully topple the Penguins for the first time in over two years.
4. Wednesday, February 14 - Florida Panthers
It's the one night a year when Canucks fans can turn back the clock and 'Luuuuuuu' to their hearts' content and that makes this game's atmosphere unlike any of the other 40 on the schedule. And what better timing than Valentine's Day for Canucks fans to show their love for their former captain and star netminder. It's a shame the Panthers won't have Jaromir Jagr with them this time around, but we'll settle for one-time Sedin line triplet Radim Vrbata instead.
3. Saturday, December 2 - Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs and one of the league's best collection of young talent - and yes, you read that correctly - will be at Rogers Arena to welcome the Canucks back from a six-game trip in the first December game for both teams. Auston Matthews, in just his second-ever visit to Rogers Arena, will be the main attraction but another name that generate some headlines is Patrick Marleau, the ex-Shark who inked a three-year deal with Toronto in the off-season. Marleau is a veteran of many heated battles against the Canucks and, after last year's head-to-head battles, so are the Leafs. It's a safe bet most Canucks fans haven't forgotten about the antics of Nazem Kadri last season.
2. Tuesday, October 10 - Ottawa Senators
Canucks fans never had a proper send off for popular winger Alex Burrows when he was traded but they'll have a chance to welcome the fan favourite back to the city early with the Senators. The in-house tribute and Burrows' acknowledgement of the crowd will be worth the price of admission alone. You can bet there won't be a dry eye in the house and it will be one of those rare occasions where even Canucks fans won't mind if an opposing player shoots an imaginary arrow or two towards the sky.
1. Saturday, October 7 - Edmonton Oilers
There's nothing quite like the glitz and glamour of opening night for the home team but much of the fanfare on this night will be reserved for the opposition team with the high-flying Oilers led by reigning league MVP and NHL 18 cover athlete Connor McDavid providing the competition. This game will be the hottest ticket in town and will also be a good, early litmus test for the upstart Canucks to face a team that many feel will be the best in the West once all is said and done.