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Weekly Primer

Blues banner-raising ceremony highlights week in NHL

Global Series between Blackhawks, Flyers among can't-miss events to start 2019-20 regular season

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

The 2019-20 NHL season begins this week, and one of the highlights will be the St. Louis Blues raising their first Stanley Cup banner on Wednesday. But that is not the only story to watch this week. Here are the top five stories along with fantasy can't-miss players.


1. Celebrating the Blues

Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O'Reilly, goalie Jordan Binnington and the St. Louis Blues will raise the Stanley Cup banner at Enterprise Center to celebrate their first NHL championship in 51 seasons before their game against the Washington Capitals (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN). The Blues defeated the Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on their run to the title.

The Capitals are the defending Metropolitan Division champions who won their first NHL championship in 2018. They come off a seven-game loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference First Round.

Video: STL@BOS, Gm7: Listen to every call of Blues' Cup win


2. 2019 NHL Global Series

The Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers are participating in the 2019 NHL Global Series and start their seasons at O2 Arena in Prague on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSP, NBCSCH, SN360, NHL.TV). The event is a homecoming for Flyers forward Jakub Voracek (Kladno, Czech Republic) and Blackhawks center David Kampf (Chomutov, Czech Republic). The game will also be the first for the Flyers coached by Alain Vigneault.


3. NHL debuts for Hughes, Kakko

Jack Hughes (New Jersey Devils) and Kaapo Kakko (New York Rangers), the top two picks in the 2019 NHL Draft, are expected to make their NHL debuts.

Hughes, an 18-year-old center, will skate against the Winnipeg Jets at Prudential Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, MSG, TSN3, NHL.TV), a game where defenseman P.K. Subban, and forwards Wayne Simmonds and Nikita Gusev will also play their first games for the Devils.

Kakko, an 18-year-old forward, is set to face the Jets at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, TSN3, NHL.TV). The Rangers also have some marquee offseason additions who are making their debuts, forward Artemi Panarin and defensemen Jacob Trouba and Adam Fox. Trouba will play his first game against Winnipeg after he was traded by the Jets to New York on June 17.

Video: NYR@NJD: Hughes pots early breakaway goal


4. New-look Panthers set for unveiling

The revamped Florida Panthers play their first game under coach Joel Quenneville against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; SUN, FS-F, NHL.TV). 

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start for the Panthers after signing a seven-year contract July 1. Florida also signed defenseman Anton Stralman and forwards Noel Acciari and Brett Connolly.

The Lightning are the reigning Presidents' Trophy winners after tying an NHL record with 62 wins last season.


5. Flower power in Vegas

Marc-Andre Fleury is two games from becoming the 16th goalie in NHL history to play at least 800 and pass Nikolai Khabibulin (799) on the all-time list. The Vegas Golden Knights play the San Jose Sharks twice this week, the season opener at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS) and at SAP Center on Friday.

Video: Top 10 saves of 2018-19: Fleury


Fantasy can't-miss picks

Victor Olofsson, BUF -- The Buffalo Sabres wing has emerged as a sleeper rookie with immediate fantasy upside based on his strong preseason. After scoring four points in six games during his NHL trial last season, Olofsson led Buffalo with three goals in three preseason games playing mostly on a line with elite center Jack Eichel. -- Pete Jensen

Anthony Cirelli, TBL -- The Lightning center is expected to begin the season in a top-six placement and could bring exposure to elite forward Steven Stamkos at even strength. The Lightning have three games this week, giving him additional appeal. -- Rob Reese 

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