With the NHL Trade Deadline looms just days away, Stanley Cup contenders are in a frenzy to bolster their rosters for the upcoming playoffs. For many future champions, the trade deadline has proven to be a pivotal moment in their journey toward the coveted title. And while big-name players often make the headlines, lesser-known acquisitions can significantly impact a team’s success.
Teams have been making moves leading up to the deadline. The Boston Bruins, who New York Sportsbooks have as the Stanley Cup favorites, recently added defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway from Washington Capitals in a three-team trade that included the Minnesota Wild. At the same time, the New York Rangers completed the transaction for Patrick Kane that everyone knew was coming.
In light of this, we look back at the last five Stanley Cup champions and examine the trades they made before hoisting the cup. From game-changing steals to surprises, these trades played a crucial role in shaping the champions’ journey. As the clock ticks down toward the deadline, the question remains: which teams will make the right moves and which ones won’t?
2022: Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche made a big move in the offseason of 2021, trading defenseman Connor Timmins, a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for veteran goalie Darcy Kuemper.
Kuemper had a solid 2020-2021 season with the Coyotes, posting a 10-11-3 record with 2.56 goals against average (GAA) in 27 games. However, with the Avalanche, he had a career-best season, going 37-12-4 in 57 starts and posting a .921 save percentage and a 2.54 GAA.
Despite a slight drop in his playoff numbers, Kuemper was a crucial player in the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup win, going 10-4 with a .902 save percentage and 2.57 goals against average in 16 playoff games.
In addition to Kuemper, the Avalanche made several other moves before the 2022 trade deadline, including trades for forwards Andrew Cogliano, Artturi Lehkonen, and defenseman Josh Manson. However, the off-season trade for Kuemper proved to be the most impactful for the team’s championship run.
2021: Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning made several trades during the 2020-2021 Stanley Cup season, but one that proved to be beneficial was their acquisition of defenseman David Savard.
The Lightning traded a fourth-round draft pick to the Detroit Red Wings, and a third-round and first-round draft pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of a three-team deal on April 10th, which brought Savard to Tampa Bay.
Although Savard only played 14 regular-season games for the Lightning, he picked up five assists in 20 playoff games, including two in the Stanley Cup Finals, helping Tampa Bay to win the championship.
Savard’s impact on Lightning’s defense was significant and crucial to the team’s success. The trade, a pure rental, proved to be a wise move by the Lightning front office and helped solidify their defense for the playoff run.
2020: Tampa Bay Lightning
In February 2020, just before the trade deadline, the Tampa Bay Lightning acquired forward Blake Coleman. He played in just nine regular season games for the team before the COVID-19 pandemic cut the NHL season short.
However, once the playoffs began, Coleman emerged as a critical player for the Lightning. In their Stanley Cup-winning season, Coleman scored 13 points on five goals and eight assists throughout 25 games. He continued his strong performance in the 2020-21 season, contributing 11 points in 23 games as the Lightning won their second consecutive Stanley Cup.
Coleman’s contributions were crucial to the Lightning’s back-to-back championship wins. The Lightning’s success may not have been possible without his impressive play on both ends of the ice. His acquisition in 2020 proved to be a wise move by the Lightning’s front office and paid off in a big way on the ice.
2019: St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues made an impactful trade during the 2018 offseason that helped them win their first-ever Stanley Cup. The team acquired forward Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres, which proved crucial for their playoff success.
During the regular season, O’Reilly had an impressive 77 points on 28 goals and 49 assists for the Blues. However, it was his performance during the playoffs that truly shone. O’Reilly was an absolute force on the ice, tallying 23 points on eight goals and 15 assists through 26 games.
O’Reilly’s strong play helped lead the Blues to their Stanley Cup final victory over the Boston Bruins. O’Reilly was virtually unstoppable in the six-game series, recording five goals and four assists.
The trade for O’Reilly proved to be one of the essential parts of the Blues’ Stanley Cup win. His consistent offensive output and strong leadership on the ice were critical in leading the team to victory. The Blues’ front office made a wise decision in acquiring O’Reilly, which paid off in a big way.
2018: Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals made a savvy move in 2018, acquiring defenseman Michal Kempny from the Chicago Blackhawks for a conditional third-round draft pick. Kempny’s impact on the team was felt immediately, as he helped solidify the Capitals’ blue line during their Stanley Cup run.
In the regular season, Kempny had three points in 22 games. However, he stepped up his game in the playoffs, contributing five points in 24 games. While he didn’t have a huge impact offensively, Kempny’s defensive presence helped bolster the Capitals’ defense and contribute to their championship win.