2023 NHL Year in review part 2

A new year is nearly upon us with just one week and 45 regular-season games left in 2023.

But before we turn the page to 2024, it’s time to look back at the past year in the NHL.

From outdoor games to big names and major events at home and abroad, 2023 had a lot for the hockey fan. One generational talent got his career started while the one that came before him did something he never had done before.

There were records set and playoff upsets, Patrick Kane and Matthew Tkachuk, and, of course, the Golden Knights.

We unveiled 14 of the top 23 moments of the year Sunday Here are the final nine.

15. As expected, Bedard goes No. 1 to the Blackhawks

Connor Bedard officially entered the NHL on June 28, when he was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. It was a no-brainer, a foregone conclusion that Chicago would pick Bedard. The drama really started with the Anaheim Ducks at No. 2. It was a toss-up between centers Leo Carlsson and Adam Fantilli for who they would select. Anaheim went with Carlsson, who played in the Swedish Hockey League last season, and Columbus got Fantilli, who won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in NCAA hockey with the University of Michigan. The San Jose Sharks took Will Smith, a center who now playing at Boston College, with the No. 4 pick. Austria-born defenseman David Reinbacher went to the Montreal Canadiens at No. 5; Reinbacher is developing with Kloten in National League, the top pro league in Switzerland.

Connor Bedard taken No. 1 by Chicago Blackhawks

16. Poile makes final trade as GM in emotional moment at draft

On paper it just goes down as the Devils trading a seventh-round pick (No. 218) in the 2023 draft to the Nashville Predators for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft on June 29. The pick was used to select Aiden Fink, a right wing from Brooks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League who now is playing Penn State University. But with that trade came tears and smiles because it was the last trade David Poile made in his career as a general manager, which spanned 41 years (1982-2023). Poile, the Predators general manager from 1997-2023, already had announced his retirement effective June 30, and in reality Barry Trotz, his replacement, was running the draft. Trotz and Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald orchestrated the trade. Fitzgerald was an original Predator, the first player to sign with Poile and the franchise, on July 6, 1998, and the first captain in team history. Everyone on the draft floor applauded as Fitzgerald walked to the Predators table to embrace Poile and Trotz. The three executives who were part of the transaction were almost in tears.

David Poile makes his final trade, draft selection

17. NHL goes Down Under

The Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes represented the NHL in the first games the League has played in the Southern Hemisphere on Sept. 23-24. The Kings and Coyotes played two preseason games at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne as part of the 2024 NHL Global Series -- Melbourne. The Coyotes won the first game 5-3 with rookie forward Logan Cooley the star of the show, scoring a stunning, whirling, spinning, sneaky, falling down goal. The Kings won the second game 3-2. Both were sellouts, 13,097 in the building for the first game and 13,118 there for the second. Australia proved itself as a country and market the NHL likely will return to in the future.

Take a look back at the Global Series in Melbourne

18. Bedard debuts, Golden Knights raise banner on opening night

The 2023-24 NHL season began with a tripleheader Oct. 10. The Tampa Lightning started the show with two goals from Nikita Kucherov in a 5-3 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. That was the appetizer. The main course was Bedard's NHL debut, a 4-2 win for the Blackhawks against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. Bedard had an assist, a team-high five shots on goal and played 21:29, the most ice time of any forward in the game. The dessert was in the desert, Las Vegas, where the Golden Knights raised their first Stanley Cup championship banner before defeating the Seattle Kraken 4-1. Bedard scored his first goal the next night in a 3-1 loss in Boston. The Golden Knights won their first seven games before losing 4-3 in overtime against Bedard and the Blackhawks on Oct. 27.

The Golden Knights raise their Stanley Cup banner

19. Frozen Frenzy

All 16 teams were in action Oct. 24, and the NHL and ESPN combined to make it a "Frozen Frenzy." It was the first time all 16 games had staggered scheduled start times and for nearly eight hours, from opening face-off in Washington at 6:07 p.m. ET to the final buzzer in Las Vegas at 1:48 a.m. ET, ESPN was on the air and doing live look-ins at every game with John Buccigross and Kevin Weekes in the studio in Bristol, Connecticut, driving the traffic for nearly six hours. There never was more than a 10-minute window without a goal from 8:45 p.m. ET to midnight ET. ESPN showed all 102 goals either live or on a quick rewind. Power plays. Overtimes. Hits. Injuries. Inside looks at The Situation Room, the Department of Player Safety, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's home. It was all part of it.

Check out all 102 goals scored on a 16-game Tuesday

20. Battle of Alberta goes outdoors

The Oilers and Calgary Flames took their provincial rivalry into the great outdoors with the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Oct. 29. The Oilers won 5-2 behind a goal and two assists from forward Evander Kane and Stuart Skinner's 24 saves. There were 55,411 in attendance at the venue that held the first NHL regular-season outdoor game nearly 20 years earlier, the Heritage Classic between the Oilers and Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 22, 2003.

Check out the top moments from the Heritage Classic

21. Lundqvist highlights Hall of Fame Class of 2023

The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted its Class of 2023 on Nov. 13 in Toronto. Henrik Lundqvist, the former New York Rangers goalie, gave the last speech of the night. Inducted in his first year of eligibility, Lundqvist was joined by fellow former goalies Tom Barrasso and Mike Vernon along with Pierre Turgeon, Caroline Ouellette, Ken Hitchcock and Pierre Lacroix (posthumously). Turgeon spoke about his brother, Sylvain, a former NHL player, as his inspiration. Ouellette talked about convincing her parents, Nicole and Andre, to allow her to play hockey as a child. Max Lacroix, Pierre's grandson, spoke in English and French about what this honor would mean to his grandfather before bringing his grandmother, Coco, to the stage so she could pay tribute to her late husband. Hitchcock discussed his admiration for the players he coached, and he thanked them. Barrasso acknowledged those who helped him get there, including his parents, former teammates, and now fellow Hall of Famers Scotty Bowman, Craig Patrick and Tony Esposito. Vernon referenced his rough first game and how far he came in his career to get to the Hall of Fame. And Lundqvist capped the night by first accepting his Hall of Fame plaque from Patrick Roy, his idol when he was a young boy growing up in Are, Sweden. He spoke about a story with his grandmother, when he once asked her, "What if I get stuck in this small town and nobody will ever see how good I am?" He made it out.

The best moments from Hall of Fame ceremony

22. NHL takes over Stockholm

Four teams. Four games. Four days. That was the 2023 NHL Global Series Sweden presented by Fastenal. The Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators went to Stockholm, and from Nov. 16-19 took over Avicii Arena, the first time the League played four games in four days in one venue outside of North America. The Maple Leafs and Senators each went 2-0-0. Toronto won 3-2 against Detroit and 4-3 in overtime against Minnesota. Ottawa won 5-4 in overtime against Detroit and 2-1 in a shootout against Minnesota. Senators forward Tim Stützle scored the goal of the event with a baseball swing, batting in the winning goal with two seconds left in overtime to defeat the Red Wings. William Nylander was the star of the show for the Maple Leafs. He drew a big crowd at an autograph signing in downtown Stockholm and had three points (one goal, two assists) in Toronto's win against Detroit and the overtime goal in their win against Minnesota.

NHL BTS: 2023 NHL Global Series Sweden on NHL.com

23. A Hughes night in Vancouver

It was a big night for one of hockey's most popular families. Ellen and Jim Hughes got to witness their three sons, Quinn, Jack and Luke, play in the same NHL game when the Devils played against the Canucks at Rogers Arena on Dec. 5. Jack and Luke, both with the Devils, got the better of their older brother, Quinn, the Canucks captain. New Jersey won 6-5 on Jesper Bratt's goal at 19:26 of the third period. The Devils went ahead 4-1 in the first period and led 5-2 going into the third, but the Canucks rallied to tie it 5-5 before Bratt scored in the final minute. Jack Hughes had three points (one goal, two assists). Luke also scored a goal for the Devils. Quinn had two assists for the Canucks. It was a dream come true game for the brothers who used to battle in the basement in mini-stick hockey games as kids. They became the ninth family to have at least three brothers play in the same NHL game.

Hughes Brothers all play in same NHL game for first time

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