The NHL is sending four teams to Europe during the 2018-19 season, with a marquee matchup that will pit two of the best Finland-born players currently plying their trades in the NHL for a battle in the Land of the Midnight Sun come November.
The Winnipeg Jets and the Florida Panthers will play a two-game set in Helsinki, roughly two hours north of Laine and Barkov’s hometown of Tampere.
And while the battle for the best Finn title will take place between both superstars, more could be in the mix.
The Jets boast forward Joel Armia, a fellow Finn from Pori, who has become a staple on the roster this season.
Winnipeg also has prospect forward Kristian Vesalainen, a first-round pick in the 2017 draft, and defenseman Sami Niku in their system, although both would have to secure roster spots out of training camp next year to make the trip home.
In their system, 2016 first-round pick Henrik Borgstrom hails from Helsinki, while fellow prospect forward Henrik Haapala comes from Tampere.
The Edmonton Oilers and the New Jersey Devils will play two games in Sweden to cap off an extended stay in Europe. Both teams they will face each other twice in the preseason — once in Germany, the home country of Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl and again in Switzerland, where Hischier hails from.
In other NHL games abroad, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that the Calgary Flames and the Boston Bruins are candidates for a two-game series in China next year.
Fellow TSN insider Pierre LeBrun said the league and the NHLPA are ironing out the details.