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Panarin, Pavelski highlight NHL schedule homecomings

After free agency, trades, notable players' returns in 2019-20 examined

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

When the 2019-20 NHL season begins Oct. 2, there will be plenty of faces in new places following free agency and trades. NHL.com identifies some of the more notable player returns on this season's schedule.

Oct. 9: New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers (Wayne Simmonds)

Simmonds spent eight seasons with the Flyers, scoring at least 24 goals in six of them. He was traded to the Nashville Predators on Feb. 25 and signed a one-year contract with the Devils on July 1. Simmonds will play his first game at Wells Fargo Center since the trade in the home opener for the Flyers.

Nov. 23: Toronto Maple Leafs at Colorado Avalanche (Tyson Barrie)

Barrie had 307 points (75 goals, 232 assists) in 484 games over eight seasons with Colorado and 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 21 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He ranks first all-time among Avalanche defenseman in points and will return to play at Pepsi Center for the first time since he was traded to the Maple Leafs on July 1.

 

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Nov. 25: Minnesota Wild at New York Rangers (Mats Zuccarello)

Zuccarello was traded to the Dallas Stars on Feb. 19 after spending nine seasons with the Rangers, including leading them in scoring three straight seasons from 2015-18. He signed a five-year contract with the Wild on July 1 and will return to Madison Square Garden for the first time in late November.

Dec. 4: Colorado Avalanche at Toronto Maple Leafs (Nazem Kadri)

Kadri will play at Scotiabank Arena for the first time since he was traded to the Avalanche on July 1. The longest-tenured member of the Maple Leafs prior to the trade, Kadri played 561 games for them after making his NHL debut Feb. 8, 2010, scoring 32 goals twice (2016-17, 2017-18). He had 357 points (161 goals, 196 assists) in 561 games for Toronto and 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 19 NHL playoff games.

Dec. 5: New York Rangers at Columbus Blue Jackets (Artemi Panarin)

Although he only spent two seasons in Columbus, Panarin scored more than a point per game there with 169 points (55 goals, 114 assists) in 160 games and set the Blue Jackets record for points in a season with 87 last season, besting the record of 82 he set in 2017-18. Panarin will play at Nationwide Arena for the first time since agreeing to a seven-year contract with the Rangers on July 1.

Dec. 6: Arizona Coyotes at Pittsburgh Penguins (Phil Kessel)

Kessel won the Stanley Cup twice with the Penguins (2016, 2017) and didn't miss a game in four seasons with them. He had 303 points (110 goals, 193 assists) in 328 games for Pittsburgh and 56 points (20 goals, 36 assists) in 65 NHL playoff games. Kessel will play the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena for the first time since he was traded to the Coyotes on June 29.

Dec. 7: New Jersey Devils at Nashville Predators (P.K. Subban)

After spending three seasons with the Predators, Subban, who was traded to the Devils on June 22, will return to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville in early December. He had 130 points (35 goals, 95 assists) in 211 games with the Predators and helped them advance to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, when they lost to the Penguins in six games.

Video: Subban excited about trade to Devils

Dec. 31: Florida Panthers at Columbus Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky)

Bobrovsky spent seven seasons with the Blue Jackets, winning the Vezina Trophy twice (2013, 2017) and becoming their all-time leader in wins (213), goals-against average (2.41), save percentage (.921) and shutouts (33). He helped Columbus win a playoff series for the first time in its history last season when they swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. He will return to Columbus for the first time since signing a seven-year contract with the Panthers on July 1.

Jan 9, 2020: Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks (Corey Perry)

Perry had the final two seasons of his contract bought out by the Ducks on June 19 and signed a one-year contract with the Stars 12 days later. He ranks first in Anaheim history in games played (988), second in goals (372) and third in assists (404) and points (776). It will be an emotional return to Honda Center for Perry, who spent 14 seasons with the Ducks and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2007.

Jan. 11, 2020: Dallas Stars at San Jose Sharks (Joe Pavelski)

The captain of the Sharks for the past four seasons, Pavelski was the heart and soul for them for 13 seasons. He ranks second in San Jose history in goals (355), third in assists (406) and points (761), and fourth in games played (963). Pavelski scored at least 20 goals 10 times and at least 30 goals five times with the Sharks. He will play at SAP Center for the first time since signing a three-year contract with the Stars on July 1.

Video: Pavelski discusses new beginning with Stars

Feb. 19, 2020: New York Islanders at Colorado Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov)

Varlamov spent eight seasons with the Avalanche and ranks second in wins (183) and shutouts (21) in their history. He won at least 20 games in six seasons, including an NHL-leading 41 in 2013-14 when he was the runner-up for the Vezina Trophy as best goalie in the NHL. Varlamov will have to wait more than four months before playing at Pepsi Center for the first time since signing a four-year contract with the Islanders on July 1.

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