ST. PAUL (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild will open their inaugural season Oct. 6 at Anaheim, returning for their home opener Oct. 11 against Philadelphia.
The NHL expansion team's schedule features 41 road games and 41 home games at the new Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The Wild will play each member of the Northwest Division -- Colorado, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver -- five times apiece, in addition to playing Anaheim, Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Nashville and St. Louis at least four times each for a total of 39 games.
The Wild will visit the Columbus Blue Jackets, the other expansion team, just once this season.
Minnesota will play each of the 15 Eastern Conference teams at least one time. The remaining eight games of the Wild schedule consist of various regional or special interest rivalries.
The Wild will play the defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils at home Jan. 21.
The Wild also announced Thursday they signed free agent center Brian Bonin, a Hobey Baker winner and former University of Minnesota standout.
Bonin, 26, played in 67 games last season with the Syracuse Crunch in the American Hockey League, where he finished third on the team in goals scored, with 19.
In 1998 and 1999, Bonin split time between Adirondack of the AHL and Kansas City of the IHL. He also played in five regular season and three playoff games with the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins.
Bonin, from St. Paul, was drafted by the Penguins in the ninth round of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. The 5-foot-10, 186-pound forward played at Minnesota from 1992-1996. In his senior year with the Golden Gophers, Bonin was the nation's leading scorer in the regular season, with 81 points in 42 games. He won the Hobey Baker award in 1996.
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