NHL Season 2013: The 10 Players Under the Most Pressure to Perform

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NHL Season 2013: The 10 Players Under the Most Pressure to Perform
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Optimism has returned to the NHL as labor negotiations took a positive turn last week, and those of us who aren't afraid of jinxes can start preparing ourselves to watch, analyze and obsess over a 2013 NHL season. 

Nothing is set in stone yet, but the NHL and NHLPA agreed to the framework of a new CBA on Sunday, setting the stage for a shortened 2013 NHL season.

If indeed we have a 2013 season, all players will be grateful to leave their European clubs, AHL affiliates and backyard ponds to return to good old NHL ice, but some will reappear under bigger spotlights than others. 

A handful of NHL players are under extreme pressure to perform, pressure that will return once the sport resumes play. Some will have to deal with the scrutiny of the fans; others are trying to perform in a contract year to maximize their future paydays and still others have their eyes on the ultimate prize: the Stanley Cup. 

Here are the players who will (hopefully) come back to the NHL with a few extra issues to work through.

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