NHL releases 2017-18 schedule

Mark your calendars.

The NHL unveiled the full schedule for the 2017-18 season on Thursday, one day after the 31 teams announced their home openers for the coming campaign.

Here are some games to watch out for:

The puck drops for the first time in the 2017-18 regular season on Oct. 4.

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Golden Knights deal Schlemko to Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens acquired defenseman David Schlemko from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2019, the team announced Thursday.

The Golden Knights claimed Schlemko from the San Jose Sharks in Wednesday's expansion draft.

He spent one season with the Sharks after previous campaigns with the New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, and Arizona Coyotes.

The 30-year-old has appeared in 360 career games and registered 17 goals and 70 assists. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Coyotes in 2007.

Schlemko has three years remaining on his contract, carrying a $2.1-million cap hit.

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Hurricanes acquire Van Riemsdyk from Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights have flipped their first player.

Vegas traded defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and a seventh-round draft pick in 2018 to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a second-round selection in Friday's draft, the Hurricanes announced.

The second-round pick is the 62nd overall in Friday's draft and was originally acquired by the Hurricanes from the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of the Ron Hainsey trade.

Van Riemsdyk was the Golden Knights' selection from the Blackhawks at Wednesday night's expansion draft. The 25-year-old tallied five goals and 16 points in 58 games with Chicago this season.

With the deal, the Golden Knights now possess six picks in the first two rounds of this year's draft.

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Oilers trade Eberle to Islanders for Strome

The Edmonton Oilers have traded forward Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders in exchange for forward Ryan Strome, the Oilers announced Thursday.

Eberle appeared in all 82 games with the Oilers last season, registering 20 goals and 31 assists. Through 13 playoff contests, the 27-year-old was limited to just two points.

Strome - selected fifth overall by the Islanders in 2011 - skated in 69 games last season, finishing with 13 goals and 17 assists.

The move is somewhat of salary cap deal for the Oilers. Eberle was slated to earn $6 million over the next two seasons, while Strome is signed through 2017-18 at $2.5 million.

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5 players who should be part of Vegas’ long-term core

One day after the Vegas Golden Knights officially selected their roster, it's time to start looking toward the future.

The team is now in place, but reports suggest that many of the men selected on Wednesday night might not ever take the ice with the Golden Knights as more trades are expected.

Nevertheless, the Golden Knights have done well to stock their cupboard of valuable pieces - pieces that could be around for some time and prove to be the backbone of the franchise.

Here are five players who should be part of the Golden Knights' core in the coming years:

Jonathan Marchessault

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Arguably the biggest surprise when protected lists were unveiled was that the Florida Panthers left Jonathan Marchessault exposed.

It turns out the move was in conjunction with a trade with the Golden Knights that saw the expansion team take on Reilly Smith and his five-year, $25-million contract. Nevertheless, the Golden Knights were able to snag the Panthers' top goal scorer this season.

Marchessault paced his club with 30 goals and added 21 assists in his first full season in the league. To make things even better, the 26-year-old is making just $750,000 this season.

If he can continue to develop and produce like he did this season, then there's no question Marchessault could turn out to be the steal of the expansion draft.

Vadim Shipachyov

The second player to officially join Vegas' NHL squad could turn out to be among their best.

Back in early May, the Golden Knights landed a big fish by inking Russian forward Vadim Shipachyov to a two-year deal. He joins the team not as a rookie but as a seasoned 30-year-old who finished third in KHL scoring last year with 26 goals and 76 points in 50 games.

He also recently represented his country at the World Championship where he posted 13 points in 10 games. He has impeccable vision and a strong release. He could serve as a great set-up man for a sniper such as James Neal and a strong presence on the power play.

Look out.

Shea Theodore

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

While the Golden Knights might not have nabbed Sami Vatanen or Josh Manson from the Anaheim Ducks, they were still able to grab a bright, puck-moving defenseman.

In Shea Theodore, the Golden Knights get a former first-round pick who has been on the cusp of becoming a full-timer in the NHL but has had the misfortune of being cast aside due to a deep Ducks defensive corps.

Theodore might have dropped on the Ducks' totem pole, but he still holds much value. For one, Theodore is still just 21 years of age, meaning he still has much more maturing and developing to come. He towers at 6-foot-2, has a strong shot, and solid vision.

This season he finished with 20 points in 26 games in the AHL, while chipping in nine points in 34 games with the Ducks. He also finished second in defensemen scoring on the Ducks during the postseason, finishing with eight points in 14 games - just one point back of Cam Fowler.

With some regular playing time, Theodore could emerge as a solid first- or second-pairing D-man.

Tomas Nosek

Tomas Nosek was a bit of a surprising pick by the Golden Knights given that many believed the club would hop on the chance to pluck goaltender Petr Mrazek.

However, one thing is quite certain: George McPhee is a smart man and clearly saw something very special in Nosek.

Since coming over from the Czech Republic three years ago, the 24-year-old has spent the majority of his time fermenting in the American Hockey League, but he looks to be hitting another level.

He posted 15 goals and 41 points in 51 games during the regular season and led the Grand Rapids Griffins in playoff scoring - finishing third overall - with 10 goals and 22 points in 19 games.

He has a strong shot and is hard on the puck and was believed to be among the best prospects in Detroit's system. If it all works out, Nosek could end up being more valuable than Mrazek.

Marc-Andre Fleury

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

The success of the Golden Knights next season and going forward could solely rest in the hands of Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Golden Knights made Fleury the face of the franchise on Wednesday night, bringing him out on stage with their second-last selection. The deal to nab Fleury was reportedly made back in March, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, meaning he has long been in Vegas' plans.

It's also clear to see that by electing not to grab fellow netminders Mrazek, Philipp Grubauer, or Antti Raanta, the Golden Knights don't expect too much of a goaltending carousel.

Fleury is back to being the No. 1 again after having his net stolen from Matt Murray, and unless his play drastically tails off, he should remain in that position for the foreseeable future.

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Golden Knights whiffed on Vatanen, Dumba side deals

Full marks to Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee.

The leader of the NHL's newest outfit had 72 hours to pore over lists of available players and piece together his club's initial roster. In the end, several key hits were among his final tally, like Jonathan Marchessault, Marc Methot, and Marc-Andre Fleury.

But at the mercy of his fellow managers, who offered up various payments for McPhee to steer clear of certain players, the Golden Knights' chose instead to collect additional draft choices. In doing so, it could prove to be a costly move for the new club, which ultimately left some valuable players on the table.

That list includes Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen, as well as a pair of top-notch blue-liners the Minnesota Wild made available, particularly Matt Dumba.

Alternatively, McPhee took on the expensive Clayton Stoner from the Ducks, receiving up-and-coming defenseman Shea Theodore for his trouble. For the Wild, they offered up 2014 first-rounder Alex Tuch, plus restricted free-agent center Erik Haula, to keep the Golden Knights' attention away from Dumba, Marco Scandella, and veteran pivot Eric Staal.

Theodore and Tuch, the top payments of the side deals, may turn out to be better than what the Golden Knights could have selected. But in the here and now, Vatanen and Dumba hold supreme for Vegas. Even more so if they were chosen to be traded.

It stands to reason that even if the Golden Knights did not see the 26-year-old Vatanen or the 22-year-old Dumba as part of their future, they may have received greater payment by dealing either player in a subsequent trade.

Look at the recent history. The Tampa Bay Lightning moved a star winger in Jonathan Drouin to get their hands on defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, a top pick in last year's draft who boasts plenty of potential but who has all of four games of NHL experience.

Or even last year, in the much-discussed deal where the Edmonton Oilers flipped former first overall pick Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils to acquire top-four defender Adam Larsson.

As the Oilers and Lightning learned, top defensemen come at a premium. But the odds are the Golden Knights missed their chance to cash in. If only Vatanen and Dumba had been drafted.

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Report: Standard for slashing, offside challenges among topics at GM meetings

Among two of the game's biggest criticisms will be on the table when all 31 general managers convene on Thursday afternoon in Chicago.

The league's GMs will meet to discuss a number of topics and among them are a potential new standard for slashing and possibly making changes to the coach's challenges of offside calls, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

Slashing has become a hot-button topic of late due to the perceived increase in the amount of slashes, especially to players' extremities such as hands. Meanwhile, offside reviews have come under great scrutiny for many reasons, including the fact that calls are coming down to mere fractions of millimeters in some cases.

The meeting will take place at 5 p.m. ET.

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Blues considering moving up in draft

The St. Louis Blues are hoping to be picking higher than their current spot at 20th overall in Friday's draft.

General manager Doug Armstrong spoke to stlouisblues.com where he was adamant the team is open and hopeful of swinging a deal to improve its placement in the draft.

"We are considering moving up," Armstrong said, according to NHL.com's Chris Pinkert. "We've talked to some teams that are in an area where they think they might want to move back and grab either two first-round picks or one of our firsts and our second-round pick, depending on how far we move up.

"There are a couple of players we have our eye on."

The Blues have two first-round picks, the 20th overall selection as well as the 28th pick, which was acquired from the Washington Capitals in the Kevin Shattenkirk trade.

Looking at this year's draft, Armstrong believes the field isn't as strong as in years past, but remains confident that there will still be quality players to be had.

"(This draft) doesn't have the (Sidney) Crosby, (Alex) Ovechkin or (Auston) Mathews-type players at the top end, but we're still excited," Armstrong said. "It doesn't look like it has the depth of Robby Fabbri's draft where you might get a guy to fit in your top six. But that being said, someone is going to outperform the draft, they always do. It could be someone in the late first round or the fourth round.

"There's going to be a great player coming from this draft, and our job is trying to find one of them."

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Panthers name Pronger senior advisor

Chris Pronger is taking his talents to Sunrise.

The former NHL defenseman has been named the Florida Panthers senior advisor to the president of hockey operations, the club announced Thursday.

The role will see Pronger work alongside Dale Tallon, general manager and president of hockey operations.

"One of the most dominant defensemen of his era, Chris' winning resume and wealth of hockey knowledge will be a great asset to our hockey club," Tallon said in a statement.

Pronger, 42, skated in nearly 1,200 career games with the Hartford Whalers, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks, and Philadelphia Flyers, where he finished his career in 2012.

In 1999-00, while with the Blues, Pronger was awarded the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman, as well as the Hart Trophy, as NHL MVP. Pronger won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

Pronger joins the Panthers after spending the past three seasons with the NHL Department of Player Safety.

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