The puck drops at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Toronto, when the Maple Leafs and Senators square off in the first of 1,271 games for the 103rd season of the National Hockey League (NHL). Among the 31 teams, 90 Selects alumni hold a spot on opening-night rosters from league superstar Connor McDavid (96 ECS-O) to highly-touted rookie Kaapo Kakko (01 Finland Selects).
Here’s a couple quick hits on Selects around the league to get you ready for the season:
- Defending champion St. Louis returns all four Selects alumni that helped the organization win its first Stanley Cup in June, with Ryan O’Reilly (91 ECS), Robert Thomas (99 ECS-O), Robby Fabbri (96 ECS-O) and Jake Allen (90 ECS) in the lineup against Washington.
- 28-of-31 NHL teams begin the season with at least one former Selects player on the roster, and 24 of them include multiple alumni.
- No team begins the season with more Selects on their opening-night rosters than the Maple Leafs with seven. Mitch Marner (97 ECS-O) and William Nylander (96 Sweden Selects) headline the group, along with Travis Dermott (96 ECS-O), Timothy Liljegren (99 Sweden Selects), Rasmus Sandin (00 Sweden Selects), Kasperi Kapanen (96 Cougars) and Dmytro Timashov (96 Sweden Selects).
- The most alumni originated from our East Coast Selects teams, accounting for 41 NHL players from 10 different birth years. The ‘89 ECS was the original Selects team in 2004; a squad that featured current San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.
- Sweden Selects (16) and Finland Selects (10) are the most represented European programs, with Czech Selects following closely with six alumni.
- A wealth of rookies will make their NHL debuts including Tobias Bjornfot (01 Sweden Selects) with the Los Angeles Kings, Nick Suzuki (99 ECS-O) with Montreal, Joel Farabee (00 WCS) with Philadelphia and Cody Glass (99 WCAN) with Vegas, among others.
It’s officially hockey season with the NHL resuming action after a 112-day offseason. Check out a complete list of alumni in the league HERE and see who’s playing on your favorite team today!