NHL: Antti Niemi and the Top 15 Players That Need to Impress in Contract Years

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NHL: Antti Niemi and the Top 15 Players That Need to Impress in Contract Years
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

We are coming up on  2011, and as we bring in the new year, the NHL is doing its best to bring in some great hockey for fans to watch. The speed and skill of the game today is nearly unmatched in any other major sport.

Players are getting bigger, but they're also getting quicker and more skilled, a deadly combo for any opposing team.

With that said, players play for contracts, and contract years are when most hockey players play their best. It's a sad fact, but many hockey players tend to have career years in their contract years.

As a Leaf fan, I witnessed a career year out of Jason Blake prior to landing in Toronto, and then all of a sudden, he's back to his normal production—not producing.

A sad state of affairs to say the least for Leaf fans, but I digress.

I have compiled a list of 15 players who are in contract years that need to impress teams going forward. Some players have already done that so far, some players hope to do that by season's end, while the remainder will be lucky to ever see the money they were making previously.

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