The 10 NHL players under pressure to prove their value this season

An NHL player’s response to pressure can mean the difference between rising as a hero or falling into an abyss of underachievement, shame and irrelevance.

Pressure is scary because of the stakes but it’s something every athlete should relish. Pressure is a privilege — it’s reserved for those who are either paid a lot of money and/or play on a team with hopes of a deep playoff run. Unless you want to be a forgotten footnote in the history book of the thousands of players that have suited up in the NHL, you’ll have to shoulder the weight of scrutiny and expectations at some point and perform under it.

Every year, there’s no shortage of players under the microscope. Below we’ll examine 10 of the most intriguing entering the 2022-23 season.

This isn’t a ranking of the players sitting on the hot seat in a negative way, or even the most important players on their respective teams, but rather a collection of NHLers with strong incentives to prove their worth because of the ramifications their performance could have on their team or the future of their career.

Jack Eichel, Vegas Golden Knights

It only feels like yesterday that the Vegas Golden Knights were a playoff lock and perennial Stanley Cup contender. But the club’s depth weakened as it chased expensive stars, then last season’s injury-fuelled debacle happened, and now there’s a huge question mark in the blue paint with Robin Lehner slated to miss the entire season with a hip injury.

Vegas will have to fight for a playoff spot.

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