Several participants in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs are playing for a byproduct of team success. Those who will be restricted or unrestricted free agents come July are continuing with the most critical point of their audition for an appreciable new contract.
For burgeoning stars at the dusk of their first-ever pro contract, this is one of their last opportunities to set a tone for their careers. For those who came to their current team at the past trading deadline, there is inevitable pressure that comes with what is essentially the sole purpose of their acquisition.
The following is an assessment of select pending free agents involved in the NHL’s conference semifinals, what they have done so far in the 2013 playoffs and how it might affect their next contract. (Assuming all of them opt to return to the NHL for the 2013-14 season.)
The 15 featured players are chosen based on a combination of current salary/cap hit, playoff ice time and playoff performance. In addition, for the sake of balance, there is a limit of two players per team.