Ducks to kick off preseason Sept. 24 in San Jose

The Ducks announced their preseason schedule Thursday for the 2024-25 season, which will consist of half a dozen exhibition games, all to be played within the Golden State.

They’ll begin with a home-and-home set against the rebuilding San Jose Sharks, heading to Northern California to kick off the campaign Sept. 24 before their home opener Sept. 26. They’ll also wrap up their series of tuneups in San Jose on Oct. 4.

They’ll host the Kings on Sept. 30 and also face them on Sept. 28 in a neutral-site affair, the Empire Classic at Ontario’s Toyota Arena, the home of the Kings’ minor-league affiliate.

They’ll also take on the newest iteration of a franchise that’s bounced around in its history when they welcome Utah HC on Oct. 2. Originally, they were the World Hockey Association’s Winnipeg Jets, later merging into the NHL, then relocating to become the Phoenix Coyotes, which rebranded as the Arizona Coyotes and, this spring, moved abruptly to a basketball arena in Utah before details like logos and mascots could be concretized.

Unlike recent years, this coming season appears likely to carry some level of expectation for the Ducks, who last qualified to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2018.

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Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek has said he feels like this is the campaign where he’d like to push forward and compete for a playoff spot.

The Ducks possess the third overall pick in next Thursday’s NHL draft as well as an additional first-round selection and the second-most cap space behind Utah. That means Verbeek should have an array of investment options to enrich the quality of a youthful roster that improved substantively but moved the needle by only a millimeter in terms of wins and losses last season.

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