Regardless of whether or not we actually have a 2012-13 NHL season, general managers everywhere will find themselves meticulously planning the futures of their teams. A huge part of that future will be how they deal with free agency.
Each year, when July rolls around, scores of valuable assets hit the open market, ready to pledge allegiance to the highest bidder. Unless the NHL lockout continues through this summer, this year will be no exception.
Some of these players will find themselves extended before they gain UFA status and others will be traded as rentals before becoming available. These 25 NHLers stand to be highly-desired players either for their hometown club or someone entirely new.
A few of them, while technically poised to become free agents, will likely be choosing between retirement and returning to their current squad. Others seem nearly dead-set on avoiding the team that has them under contract today.
In order, here are the 25 most desirable prospective free agents preparing to hit the open market.
Free agency status and contracts determined via CapGeek.com.