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Critical dates coming as NHL hits its busy season

NHL calendar

Thursday – First buyout window opens

Teams can begin buying out player contracts.

Saturday, June 17 – Trade freeze and submission of expansion lists

The NHL will prohibit the trading or signing of players for all teams except Las Vegas at 3 p.m. Teams must submit their list of protected players for the expansion draft at 5 p.m.

Sunday, June 18 – Expansion lists released, Vegas courting begins

The NHL will release the protection lists to the teams, NHL Players Association and the public at 10 a.m. Simultaneously, the Golden Knights can begin negotiations with free agents, including restricted free agents who did not receive a qualifying offer.

Wednesday, June 21 – Expansion list submitted, announced

Vegas will submit its picks at 10 a.m. If it signs a free agent from a team, that will count as the expansion pick. The league will announce the expansion results at 8 p.m. during the NHL Awards show.

Thursday, June 22 – Trade freeze lifted

Teams can begin signing or trading players at 8 a.m.

Friday, June 23 – NHL Draft

The first round will begin at 7 p.m. in Chicago.

Saturday, June 24 – NHL Draft

Rounds Two through Seven will be begin at 10 a.m. in Chicago.

Sunday, June 25 – Free agent interviews begin

Teams can speak with unrestricted free agents and discuss general contract guidelines, but deals cannot be signed until July 1.

Monday, June 26 – RFA talks allowed

Teams can speak with restricted free agents and discuss general contract guidelines, but deals cannot be signed until July 1.

Friday, June 30 – Salary cap set, buyouts and interviews end

The NHL and its players’ association will set the upper and lower limits of the salary cap for the 2017-18 season.

UPDATE: The parties announced this early to help with the expansion draft. The cap in 2017-18 will be $75 million, an increase of $2 million. The minimum teams must spend is $55.4 million.

The first buyout period and interviews with free agents will end.

Saturday, July 1 – Free agency begins

Beginning at noon, clubs can sign unrestricted and restricted free agents.

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