Summer doesn't officially get underway for another month, but we're already into late May and more than a week into yet another offseason that will be a month longer than the Capitals would have liked. With that in mind, here's a look at some key dates ahead on the horizon between now and the start of the 2017-18 NHL season.
June 1 - Deadline for NHL clubs to retain players on reserve list, pertaining to recently drafted players. The Caps have already extended a "bona fide offer" to defenseman Dmitry Zaitsev, thereby retaining him on their reserve list through June 1, 2018. No players will drop off of Washington's reserve list this year.
June 17 - Deadline to submit protected list for Las Vegas expansion draft. The Caps must submit a list of protected players (either seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender or eight skaters and a goaltender) to the Vegas expansion entry with the knowledge that they will lose exactly one - no more or less - of the players not on their protected list.
June 21 - As part of the NHL's annual Awards Show in Las Vegas, the league will unveil the 30 players chosen by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft.
June 22 - Give or take a day or a week, expect the NHL to announce regular season schedule for the 2017-18 season on or around this day, based on previous calendar cycles. Also, expect an announcement as to a firm figure for the official 2017-18 NHL salary cap on or about this date. The number is expected to be in the neighborhood of $76-77 million.
June 23-24 - The 2017 NHL Draft takes place in Chicago. The Capitals currently don't own a pick prior to the fourth round, but that could change between now and then.
June 26 - Deadline for submitting qualifying offers to restricted free agents, and also the start of Washington's annual summer development camp.
July 1 - Opening of the NHL's free agent season, and also the date of the final scrimmage of the Caps' 2017 summer development camp.
July 5 - Deadline for player-elected arbitration. Five Capitals RFAs are arbitration-eligible this summer: Brett Connolly, Philipp Grubauer, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt. Andre Burakovsky is not eligible for arbitration.
July 6 - Deadline for team-elected arbitration.
July 15 - Deadline for players to accept qualifying offers.
July 20-Aug. 4 - Arbitration hearings are held in Toronto, with individual dates and times to be announced later.
Sept. 9-12 - Caps host third annual rookie tournament in Estero, a four-team tourney along with Florida, Nashville and Tampa Bay.
Mid-September - Caps 2017 training camp and preseason, dates to be announced.
Oct. 4 - Opening night of 2017-18 NHL season.