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Pens Points: Mark Your Calendars

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NHL releases 2017-2018 schedules for all 31 franchises. Pens raise banner against Blues, Thanksgiving-hangover matinee in Boston, and Fleury’s return highlight Pens season. Best Fleury moments in black & gold. NHL Entry Draft set for this weekend in Chicago.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we have all had 24 hours to cope with the loss of Marc-Andre Fleury to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft it turns out the pain hasn’t really subsided at all and it’s still surreal to think he is no longer a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Regardless, the show must go on and the NHL offseason continued full speed ahead on Thursday so let’s get caught up...

Biggest news of the day came around 3 P.M. when the NHL released the 2017-2018 regular season schedules for all 31 franchises. The Pens will play 11(!) Saturday home games this coming season but on the downside were dealt a league leading 19(!!) set of back-to-back games. [Penguins]

Some highlights from the 2017-2018 schedule:

Oct. 4: Home opener/Banner raising vs. St. Louis Blues

Oct. 5: Pens travel to Chicago to take part in Blackhawks home opener

Oct. 7: Stanley Cup rematch vs. Nashville Predators at PPG Paints Arena

Oct. 28-Nov. 4: Annual Western Canada swing takes them from Minnesota to Vancouver

Nov. 24: Pens face the Boston Bruins in “Black Friday” matinee

Dec. 14: Pens head to Las Vegas for first game against Golden Knights

Dec 31: Before the ball drops the Pens are in Detroit for meeting with Red Wings

Jan 8-12: Pens designated bye week

Feb. 6: Marc-Andre Fleury makes his return to Pittsburgh with the Golden Knights

Feb. 9-25: Break for Winter Olympics

Apr. 6: Pens wrap up regular season at home vs. Blue Jackets

Now that he is the new face for the expansion Golden Knights, Fleury plans to use lessons he learned from Sidney Crosby to help guide himself in his new role in Las Vegas. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Not to drive the knife in deeper, here’s a look at some of Fleury’s top moments in the Penguins’ uniform. [KDKA]

Not to be out done by the expansion draft, the annual NHL Entery Draft is being held this weekend at the United Center in Chicago. The seven round draft will take place over the course of Friday and Saturday. The Pens have a first round pick this year but it will be in the later rounds where they look to shine. [Trib Live]

Appearing in 40 games (playoffs included) for the Penguins last season, defesneman Chad Ruhwedel proved to be a valuable asset as the team battled injuries to its blue line all year long. General manager Jim Rutherford rewarded Ruhwedel for his efforts with a new two year deal on Thursday. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

News and notes from around the NHL...

A year after trading Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils, the Oilers sent another young star out east for a questionable return on Thursday. Long rumored to be on the way out, Jordan Eberle was shipped to the New York Islanders in exchange for Ryan Strome. [ESPN]

As mentioned above, the NHL Entry Draft is set for this weekend so get all caught up with the latest mock draft. New Jersey will lead the way with the first overall pick followed by the Philadelphia Flyers are No. 2. You’ll have to stick around for awhile if you want to see the Pens first round pick which comes in at No. 31. [Bleacher Report]