The Stanley Cup has not yet been awarded, but the offseason has already begun for the Caps. The team released a list of key offseason dates for the summer on Monday. Here are some of the more important ones to mark on your calendar.
June 17: Deadline to submit protected list for the Vegas expansion draft
Every team is going to lose one player to Vegas in the expansion draft, but there are rules in place to help teams protect their top players. Each team will have the option of protecting either seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie or eight skaters and a goalie. That list must be submitted by June 17. Here's the fun part. For the unrestricted free agents not on the protected list, Vegas will be able to negotiate with those players prior to the actual draft. That means Vegas could potentially come to an agreement with a free agent, select someone else in the draft, then wait to sign that player when free agency starts.
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June 21: NHL Awards Show and Vegas expansion draft revealed
Braden Holtby will be there as a Vezina Trophy finalist. Also, during the awards the 30 players the Vegas Golden Knights have selected in the expansion draft will be revealed so we will officially know who from the Caps is Vegas bound.
June 23-24: NHL Draft
The Caps do not pick until the fourth round as of now, but there's a long way between now and then. Perhaps general manager Brian MacLellan pulls off a trade or two to try to get some earlier picks back.
June 26: Deadline for submitting qualifying offers to restricted free agents
Brett Connolly, Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov Nate Schmidt, Dmitry Orlov, Philipp Grubauer all will be restricted free agents this offseason. To retain their rights, teams must submit a qualifying offer by this date. Otherwise, those players automatically become unrestricted free agents.
June 26 - July 1: Caps' development camp
Fans will get a chance to see the Caps of tomorrow in action as they descend upon Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the team's annual development camp. The camp wraps up with a scrimmage that fans can watch on July 1.
July 1: Start of NHL free agency
Given the team's salary cap constraints don't expect to see general manager Brian MacLellan handing out too many contracts.
July 5: Deadline for player-elected arbitration
July 6: Deadline for team-elected arbitration
Of the team's RFAs, Connolly, Kuznetsov, Schmidt, Orlov, and Grubauer are all eligible for arbitration.
July 15: Deadline for players to accept qualifying offers
If RFAs do not accept qualifying offers by this time, those offers expire. The players remain RFAs and the team retains their rights, however. New contracts can still be negotiated.
Sept. 9-12: Rookie tournament
Just prior to training camp, Caps' rookies will take part in a four-team tournament against the Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning. The tournament will take place in Estero, Fla.
Mid-September: Training camp and preseason
The official date has not yet been announced, but the Caps will return to Washington in mid-September to begin training for another quest for the Stanley Cup.
Oct. 4: Opening night of the NHL season
The Caps' schedule has not yet been released, but the new NHL season officially begins on Oct. 4.
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