Important dates for 2013 NHL season

(AP)

With a new schedule in place, the following calendar outlines key dates for NHL fans heading into the 2013 season.

Jan. 19

NHL season kicks off with 13 games

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings – Defending champions to raise Stanley Cup banner

Jan. 20

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers – Rick Nash makes debut at Madison Square Garden

Jan. 22

San Jose Sharks vs. Edmonton Oilers – Nail Yakupov expected to make home debut

Feb. 2

Dallas Stars vs. Phoenix Coyotes – Ray Whitney returns to Phoenix

Feb. 6

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens – Zdeno Chara tends to get the fans heated in Montreal

Feb. 7

Phoenix Coyotes vs. Chicago Blackhawks – Raffi Torres’ first game in Chicago after infamous Marian Hossa hit

Feb. 11

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs – Luke Schenn and James van Riemsdyk meet for first time in new uniforms

March 9

Minnesota Wild vs. Nashville Predators – Ryan Suter makes return to Nashville

April 3

Trade Deadline

April 27

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Jordan Staal makes long-awaited return to Pittsburgh

April 27

Final day of NHL regular season

April 29

NHL Draft Lottery

April 30

Stanley Cup playoffs begin

May 27 to June 1

NHL Draft Combine, Toronto

June 28

Last possible date for Stanley Cup Final

June 30

NHL Entry Draft, New Jersey

July 5

Free agency opens

TBA

2013 NHL Awards