Pending free agents confront injury risk in NHL playoffs

St. Louis Blues

FILE – In this Jan. 18, 2020, file photo, St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo skates during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Denver. Pietrangelo, and many other pending free agents would have already cashed in at this point in the summer in a regular year. Instead, returning to compete in the NHL playoffs after time away represents a significant injury risk with free agency looming in October and the chance of something serious jeopardizing next season. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Pending free agents face the risk of injury by resuming the NHL season. Prominent players like St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo, Boston defenseman Torey Krug, Washington goaltender Braden Holtby and Arizona winger Taylor Hall are all willing to accept that risk for a chance of winning the Stanley Cup.

In an ordinary year, they would’ve already cashed in when free agency opened July 1. They now must try to stay healthy after several months off the ice with a potentially big payday awaiting in October. Even then, they might make less because of the effects the pandemic had on the league’s salary cap.

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