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The 2017 NHL Expansion Draft is in just 20 days, and things have changed a bit

Changing the rules on the fly is part of the deal in the NHL. (Ask Brett Hull.)

The 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, explained

We're two and a half weeks away from the Hurricanes losing someone to Vegas in the expansion draft. Here's a refresher course on how it works.

Posted by Canes Country on Thursday, June 1, 2017

Just what you want: an NHL Expansion Draft update! The situation surrounding the Carolina Hurricanes hasn’t changed much over the past month since last we checked in on who the Canes will expose and protect. However, there have been a couple of significant changes to the calendar in the past couple of days that will have a direct impact on the schedule following what will be a frenzied week of action between the end of the Stanley Cup Final and the announcement of the Vegas Golden Knights roster on June 21.

Here, from the NHL, is what you need to know about what’s going to happen when:

Monday, June 12

By 5:00 this afternoon, NHL teams will need to officially ask players with no-movement clauses if they are willing to waive those clauses to be made available in the expansion draft. This has no practical impact on the Hurricanes, who only have one player (Jordan Staal) with a NMC and who would be protected anyway.

An exception to this deadline will be granted to the Penguins and Predators if the Stanley Cup Final goes to seven games. If that happens, their deadline will be 5:00 on Thursday, June 15.

Thursday, June 15

This is the opening day of the first buyout window, which will be a rather chaotic two-day period before the expansion draft begins (more on that below). For players with a no-movement clause, teams have until noon today to ask them whether or not they want to be placed on waivers before being bought out.

Friday, June 16

There are two deadlines today: first, all players who are to be placed on waivers before the expansion draft (either for the purposes of a buyout or for any other purpose) must be submitted to the league office by noon.

Second, players who were asked earlier in the week if they are willing to waive their NMCs to be exposed in the expansion draft will need to notify their teams and the league office by 5:00 this afternoon.

Saturday, June 17

Here’s where things get a little weird. All of those players who were put on waivers on Friday will either clear or be claimed at noon today. Three hours later, a roster movement freeze will be implemented for all 30 non-expansion teams, which will preclude any trades, signings, or waiver movements until Thursday, June 22.

What does this mean? Basically, all player movement not involving the Golden Knights shuts down through the end of the expansion draft. Buyouts aren’t technically included, but since any buyout requires a player to be put on unconditional waivers before being bought out, it has the same impact.

In other words, if the Hurricanes want to sign any of their free agents before the Entry Draft, they’ll likely need to do it before the Expansion Draft. Otherwise, they’ll only have a short window to do so before heading to Chicago.

Meanwhile, each team will submit its protected list to the league office and to the NHLPA no later than 5:00 this afternoon.

Sunday, June 18

Two big things happen at 10:00 this morning. First, the league office will release the 30 protected lists to both the NHLPA and the teams at that time. (Which means it will get out to the public at approximately 10:00:06.)

Also at 10:00, the Golden Knights’ 72-hour window to talk to free agents (which has been extended from its original 48-hour window) will open. The Golden Knights are allowed to talk to any free agents who are not protected from the expansion draft, but will not be able to talk to any free agents who are on protected lists. So the Hurricanes can still protect, say, Teuvo Teravainen even if he isn’t signed, and he will be off limits to Vegas.

Nothing, obviously, will prevent the Golden Knights from submitting an offer sheet to an unsigned RFA on or after July 1, but that will need to be done completely outside the parameters of the expansion draft.

Wednesday, June 21

The Golden Knights will submit their draft selections to the league office and the NHLPA at 10:00 this morning, including submitting any contracts agreed with pending free agents during the interview window. As reported earlier, if the Golden Knights sign a free agent from a team as part of this window, that counts as their expansion selection from that team.

Of note: any RFAs signed in this window will not entitle their former team to any compensation. They will be signing an actual contract, not an offer sheet.

The NHL Awards start at 8:00 tonight, and the Golden Knights’ roster will be announced during the awards broadcast.

Thursday, June 22

Everything gets back to normal at 8:00 this morning. The player movement freeze is lifted, and everyone scrambles to Chicago for the Entry Draft that starts the next evening.

Got all that? Good. Buckle up, because it’s going to be a wild ride for a week or so leading up to the expansion draft roster freeze. We’ll keep you up to date on everything that’s going on surrounding the Hurricanes.