* July 23: Buyout period begins; also begins the period to negotiate with 2003 draft picks and teams' own free agents.
* July 28: 5 p.m. EDT deadline for signing 2003 draft picks (otherwise they re-enter 2005 draft); deadline for exercising club/player options for 2005-06 season.
* July 29: 5 p.m. EDT deadline for player buyouts.
* July 30: NHL entry draft in Ottawa. Modified version with only top prospects invited and cut down from nine to seven rounds.
* July 31: 5 p.m. EDT deadline to extend qualifying offers to clubs' own free agents. Qualifying offers are needed to retain rights of restricted free agents.
* Aug. 1: Official free-agent signing season begins.
* Aug. 10: Players notify teams whether they've elected salary arbitration.
* Aug. 11: Clubs notify players whether they've elected to bring them to salary arbitration.
* Aug. 12: NHL and NHLPA schedule arbitration cases.
* Aug. 15: Qualifying offers expire automatically.
* Aug. 22-Sept. 1: Salary arbitration hearings.