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NHL to play games in Sweden, Finland, China next season

Oilers, Devils, Panthers, Jets will compete in Europe @NHLdotcom

TAMPA -- The NHL will play regular-season games in Sweden and Finland, and preseason games in China next season, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday.

The Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils will open their 2018-19 NHL regular season in Sweden. Each team also will play a preseason game in Europe.

The Devils will play in Switzerland, the home country of center Nico Hischier, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. The Oilers will play in Germany, the home country of center Leon Draisaitl. The cities and dates for the preseason games have yet to be finalized.

The Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets will play two regular-season games in Finland in early November, in a continuation of the NHL Global Series. Florida forward Aleksander Barkov and Winnipeg forward Patrik Laine are two of the most well-known Finland-born players in the NHL.

"We are extremely pleased with the continuity of our international visits," Commissioner Bettman said. "You cannot develop an international strategy or establish a presence without these events."

Video: Commissioner Bettman on expansion, overseas games

The 2017 SAP NHL Global Series games were played in Stockholm on Nov. 10 and 11. The Ottawa Senators won each game, defeating the Colorado Avalanche.

The NHL will return to China for preseason games, repeating the trip made this September for the 2017 NHL China Games presented by O.R.G. Packaging. The teams, dates and cities have yet to be finalized for the 2018 games.

"As you know we do international events jointly with the [NHL] Players' Association," Commissioner Bettman said. "We partner together and we need to make sure as we go through this process that both sides are comfortable with all the details. Rather than rush into announce something we need to make sure our partners are in sync."

The Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks played two preseason games, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai, last September. The Kings won each game.

Commissioner Bettman made the announcement at the 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend.

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