2018 NHL offseason schedule: Key dates to know

Here’s what to watch for this summer.

The 2017-18 NHL season has come to a close with Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.

It’s time to officially turn the page to the offseason. Unlike the MLB, NBA or NFL, the NHL likes to stuff the majority of offseason activity in a short, two- to three-week window after the season ends.

Here are some key dates to watch this offseason. All times Central:

  • Week of June 18: Sometime during this week the NHL will announce the official salary cap amount for the 2018-19 season.
  • Wednesday, June 20 (noon): 2018-19 home openers released
  • Wednesday, June 20 (7 p.m.): NHL awards show from Las Vegas
  • Thursday, June 21 (4 p.m.): 2018-19 NHL regular-season schedules released
  • Friday, June 22 (6 p.m.): First round of NHL draft from Dallas
  • Saturday, June 23 (9 a.m.): Rounds 2-7 of NHL draft from Dallas
  • Sunday, June 24 (11:01 p.m.): The unrestricted free agent “interview period” begins, where pending UFAs may speak to teams that do not hold their rights. However, they cannot sign a contract until July 1. Michal Rozsival is Chicago’s only UFA on its roster, while non-roster UFAs include Cody Franson, Jeff Glass, Viktor Svedberg, Jordin Tootoo and Lance Bouma.
  • Monday, June 25 (4 p.m.): Qualifying offers to restricted free agents deadline. Teams must tender qualifying offers to their restricted free agents to retain their rights. Any potential RFAs that do not receive a offer become a UFA. Chicago has three RFAs in forwards Anthony Duclair and Tomas Jurco as well as defenseman Adam Clendening.
  • Tuesday, June 26: The Hockey Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee will announce the class of 2018 inductees.
  • Tuesday, June 26 (11:01 p.m.): RFA “interview” period begins, where qualified RFAs may discuss offer sheets with other teams. They cannot sign until July 1.
  • Saturday, June 30 (4 p.m.): First buyout window closes
  • Sunday, July 1 (11 a.m.): Free agency begins
  • Tuesday, July 5 (4 p.m.): Arbitration deadline for players to notify the NHL.
  • Friday, July 6 (4:01 p.m.): Second club window for arbitration
  • Sunday, July 15 (4 p.m.): Qualifying offers expire
  • Monday, July 16: The Blackhawks haven’t announced the schedule and rosters for its annual prospect camp, but it usually happens during the third week of July.
  • Friday, July 27 to Sunday, July 29: The 11th annual Blackhawks Convention at Hilton Chicago.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 15 (4 p.m.): College-drafted players who have left school must sign or they’ll become UFAs./