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After the winter break, headlines include Gadreau homecoming and the Winter Classic

The Blue Jackets’ forward is returning to Calgary; the Bruins and Penguins will play at Fenway Park on January 2. Following its customary Christmas break, the NHL resumes play on Tuesday with 12 games. The League will have an action-packed stretch leading up to the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend, which will be hosted by the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, on Feb. 3-4.

Here are a few stories to keep an eye on between now and the All-Star Game:

The IIHF World Junior Championship will be held in 2023.

Conor Bedard of Canada, Leo Carlsson of Sweden, and Charlie Stramel of the United States are among the best prospects for the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft who will compete in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Moncton, New Brunswick. The tournament begins on Monday and concludes on January 5 with the gold medal game. Shane Wright, the No. 4 selection in the 2022 NHL Draft on loan from the Seattle Kraken, who was named Canada captain, and Luke Hughes, the New Jersey Devils No. 4 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, who is in his sophomore season at the University of Michigan and was named captain for the United States, will also compete.

Stamkos aims for their 500th goal

Overshadowed by Alex Ovechkin’s pursuit of his 802nd goal, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos is three goals away from becoming the 47th player in NHL history to score 500 goals. On Wednesday, the Lightning begins a three-game homestand against the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET). Stamkos, who has 16 goals and 32 assists this season, became the Lightning’s first 1,000-point player with an assist in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 1.

Busy On New Year’s Eve.

The winter classic for NHL bids farewell to 2022 with twelve games on December 31, beginning at 1 p.m. ET with the Buffalo Sabres hosting the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Columbus Blue Jackets. The reigning Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche host the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the Calgary Flames at the Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers at the Winnipeg Jets at 10 p.m. ET.

The Winter Classic returns to Fenway Park.

On January 2, the Bruins will meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2023 Discover NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park (2 p.m. ET; TNT, SN, TVAS). The Winter Classic for NHL will be held for the second time at Fenway Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox. In the third Winter Classic, the Bruins defeated the Flyers 2-1 in overtime at Fenway Park. This game, like that one, will feature plenty of star power, with Boston led by David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Taylor Hall, and Pittsburgh led by Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang.

Lindholm’s visit to Anaheim Hampus

Lindholm spent the first nine seasons of his winter classic NHL career with the Anaheim Ducks before being dealt to the Bruins on March 19, 2008. The following day, they reached an agreement on an eight-year, $52 million contract ($6.5 million average yearly value). When the Bruins visit Honda Center on Jan. 8, the defender will return for the first time since then. Lindholm, who helped Anaheim win the Pacific Division four straight seasons from 2013 to 2017, is third among Ducks defensemen in goals (57), assists (165), and points (165). (222).

The Sabres will retire Miller’s No. 30 jersey.

Ryan Miller will become the Buffalo Sabres’ ninth player to have his number retired when his No. 30 is lifted to the KeyBank Center rafters prior to their game against the New York Islanders on Jan. 19. Miller, who spent 11 seasons with the Sabres after being taken in the fifth round (138th overall) of the 1999 NHL Draft, holds Sabres records for wins (284) and games played (540). Tim Horton (2), Rick Martin (7), Gilbert Perreault (11), Rene Robert (14), Pat LaFontaine (16), Danny Gare (18), and Dominik Hasek (39) will be among the Sabres players whose numbers will be retired.

Canada celebrates Hockey Day.

On Jan. 21, all seven NHL clubs based in Canada will be in action for Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada. At 3 p.m. ET, Calgary hosts Tampa Bay, followed by Toronto visiting the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg visiting the Ottawa Senators at 7 p.m. ET. At 10 p.m. ET, Edmonton hosts Vancouver in the nightcap. A day of off-ice events will take place in Owen Sound, Ontario.

The return of Gaudreau to Calgary

On Jan. 23, Johnny Gaudreau will make his debut appearance at Scotiabank Saddledome as a visiting player with the Blue Jackets, it will most likely be an emotional night. Gaudreau spent his first nine NHL seasons with Calgary before signing a seven-year, $68.25 million contract with Columbus on July 13 ($9.75 million AAV). Last season, he led the Flames and was tied for second in the NHL with 115 points (40 goals, 75 assists) in 82 games. With 609 points (210 goals, 399 assists) in 602 regular-season games, Gaudreau ranks fifth in Calgary/Atlanta Flames history.

Gagner, Edler, Krejci, and Tavares are all close to 1,000 games.

Before the All-Star break, Jets forward Sam Gagner (998), Los Angeles Kings defender Alexander Edler (997), Bruins forward David Krejci (990), and Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (983) could all achieve 1,000 regular-season games. Gagner is set to surpass the century mark against the Canucks on Thursday. On New Year’s Eve, Edler played in his 1,000th game against the Flyers. If he doesn’t miss any games, Krejci will play in his 1,000th game on Jan. 16 against the Flyers. If he doesn’t miss any games, Tavares will play his 1,000th game against the Washington Capitals on January 29.

 – Guest Post

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