Buzzing Nashville Predators open 2024-25 against Dallas Stars, the way it should be

Day 1 of NHL free agency was enormous for the Predators, and they're getting an enormous season-opening opponent as well.
Jan 6, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrates after he scores a goal against Dallas Stars goaltender Scott Wedgewood (41) during the third period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 6, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrates after he scores a goal against Dallas Stars goaltender Scott Wedgewood (41) during the third period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

I have to give the NHL schedule writers, whoever they are, a lot of credit for pitting the Nashville Predators against the Dallas Stars in a Central Division rivalry to start the 2024-25 season.

Fresh off an absolute monumental first day of free agency for the Predators that landed not only Steven Stamkos, but also Jonathan Marchessault and Brady Skjei, now we know that next season will start with a must-watch game for the entire NHL.

The 2024-25 opener for the Predators hosting the Stars will be at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday, October 10th. The Dallas faithful always travels well to Nashville, as does every other passionate fanbase with a quality hockey club to support. They just love coming to Nashville, so let's be upstanding hosts shall we?

A perfect season-opening opponent for the buzzing Nashville Predators

The only other opponent I would lean towards being a more juicy season-opener is maybe the Vancouver Canucks because of the first round loss. But the Dallas Stars move the needle way more, at least for me it does.

I've been arguing since the 2019 first round playoff loss to the Dallas Stars that this rivalry has potential to grow into one of the best ones in the NHL. It was a demoralizing upset loss for the Predators after finishing the regular season with a Central Division title, 100 points in the standings, and just coming off a Presidents Trophy campaign the season before.

Then the Winter Classic happened. The Predators were up 2-0 in that game before having a meltdown and giving up four unanswered goals at the Cotton Bowl. Head Coach Peter Laviolette would be fired two games later.

All of this to say that the Predators/Stars rivalry has only grown exponentially since then. Both fanbases are rabid and passionate, divisional rivals located in Southern cities that often feel overlooked and disrespected by the larger NHL landscape.

Then there's the Matt Duchene effect in all of this. I know we're all in positive vibes about the Predators right now after day 1 of free agency and Barry Trotz just kicking down the door to build a Stanley Cup contender now, not later. But with that said, I still for the life of me will never understand the Matt Duchene buyout.

Duchene got bought out in the 2023 offseason, and then turned around from being an $8 million year player to being a $3 million player and proceeding to score 25 goals and 65 points. The Predators will pay $5,555,556 in buyout money to Duchene in 2024-25, according to

So the Duchene connection alone makes this a juicy 2024-25 season opener, but the rivalry on its own is outstanding. I would argue that the Stars are the top current rival of the Predators, but if we want to weigh in heavily on history then of course the Blackhawks and Red Wings are ahead on that list.

On the flip side when looking at free agency, the Stars didn't have a very uplifting first day. They did re-sign Duchene to a one-year, $3 million deal. There other two main signings were backup goalie Casey DeSmith and defenseman Matt Dumba to a puzzling contract of two years at $3.75 million.

The Stars also lost Chris Tanev, their big 2024 trade deadline acquisition. They hoped to keep him, but instead that looks like a giant waste of a pickup now.

Look the Stars are still a top tier team in the Western Conference, but they certainly didn't get any better and maybe even got slightly worse. They still got a really solid core to compete at a high level.

One last side note with the Predators stealing away the Stars' backup goalie Scott Wedgewood, at least barring injury we can be assured that Wedgewood will not be the starter on that fateful night. He'll be chilling on the bench doing sideline interviews with Chris Mason.

Other 2024-25 Schedule Notes

Five of the first six games of the season will be at home. After opening against Dallas, the Predators will go on the road to take on the Red Wings. Then it's four consecutive games at home against the Kraken, Oilers, Red Wings and Bruins.

Welcoming the Oilers and Connor McDavid is always a fun time, and two early matchups against the Red Wings is interesting. The Oilers will come to Bridgestone Arena twice in October.

And I'm sure you're wondering when the revenge tours for Stamkos and Marchessault hit their peaks? Stamkos will travel in a Predators uniform to take on the Lightning at Tampa on October 28, so the NHL isn't making us wait too long for that awkward and emotional night.

Marchessault will first travel to Vegas to take on his old team not until April 12, the third to last game of the regular season. The Predators will host Vegas twice, once in January and once in March.

The Predators really don't have a long stretch away from home until December 27 when they start off at the Blues on a string of six road games that ends at the Jets.

And in a perfect way to end the 2024-25 season, and hopefully with the Predators already securely locked into a playoff spot, they'll again host the Stars at Bridgestone Arena. Well done, schedule writers.