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Best NHL trade deadline signings of all-time

The NHL trade deadline is on Friday and with teams in contention looking to bolster their chances of becoming Stanley Cup Champions, we take a look at some of the best deadline signings of all-time.  

Butch Goring to New York Islanders from Los Angeles Kings

March, 1980 

Butch Goring was acquired by the Islanders from the Kings in what turned out to be a franchise-altering trade.  

The centreman scored 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 12 regular season games to help the Islanders go 8-0 with four ties down the stretch and then scored 19 points in 21 Stanley Cup Playoff games.  

New York won the first of four straight championships (1980-84), with Goring being a big part of each. In 1981 he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs after scoring 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 18 games.  

The current version of the Islanders have also made a big splash on a centreman in Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks and in 12 regular season games so far he has scored eight points (five goals, three assists). 

His contribution has helped the Islanders move into the first Wild Card spot from the Eastern Division and +150 to make the playoffs. 

Ron Francis to Pittsburgh Penguins from Hartford Whales

March, 1991 

Francis was moved from Hartford to Pittsburgh in the middle of his 10th straight season with at least 20 goals.  

The six-player transaction turned out to be a game-changer for the Penguins who went on to win their first Stanley Cup and repeated a season later.  

Francis scored 11 points (two goals, nine assist) in 14 regular season games following the switch and then had 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) for 17 points in 24 playoff games and tied Kevin Stevens for the Pittsburgh lead with four-game winning goals.  

Now in the Hockey Hall of Fame, Francis scored 27 playoff points (eight goals, 19 assists) the following post-season as the Penguins lifted the Cup again.  

Francis remained in Pittsburgh for six further seasons, and racked up points before heading to Carolina where the Whalers had been relocated to become the Hurricanes.  

The current Penguins have recovered from a wobble to win three straight and they hold the second Wild Card place in the Eastern Conference and are -300 to make the playoffs for a record 17th consecutive time.  

Stephane Matteau to New York Rangers from Chicago Blackhawks 

March, 1994 

The Rangers had to give up high-scoring forward Tony Amonte who went on to have a hugely successful career in Chicago to get Matteau. 

But, it was totally worth it, as a 23-year-old Matteau became a New York sports legend by scoring two overtime goals in the Eastern Conference Final, including a Game 7 winner to send the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final which ended with their first Championship in 54 years.  

Matteau spent just two further seasons in New York before moving to St. Louis Blues but despite the relatively short time with the organisation his impact will be forever remembered. 

After making the Eastern Conference Final last season, the 2022/23 Rangers have gone all out in the current trade window and acquired another player from the Blackhawks, Patrick Kane who they hope will be able to make the same impact as Matteu and end another long wait for the Cup. 

Kane, 34, has won the Stanley Cup three times with the Blackhawks and is widely considered one of, if not the greatest American born player of all-time.  

The Rangers have also added another former Cup winner in St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko and the moves have made them +1100 to be crowned Stanley Cup Champions for the first time since 2004.  

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NHL: Trade deadline update – Leafs adding depth for playoffs

Rob Blake to Colorado Avalanche from Los Angeles Kings 

February, 2001 

Acquiring Blake, one of the best defencemen of all time and now a Hall of Famer, helped make Colorado Avalanche one of the greatest ever Stanley Cup Champions in 2001.  

Blake scored 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 13 regular season appearances to help the Avalanche clinch the Presidents' Trophy with 118 points before registering 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 23 games on the run to the Cup.  

Blake averaged 29.26 average ice time per game (fourth on the team) as the Avalanche bulldozed their way through the playoffs. 

The trade for Blake came one season after the Avalanche acquired defenceman Ray Bourque from the Boston Bruins. Bourque scored 52 points in 2000/01 at the age of 40 and retired after lifting the Cup. 

Artturi Lehkonen to Colorado Avalanche from Montreal Canadiens 

March, 2022 

After 2001, the Avalanche had to wait until last season to be crowned Stanley Cup Champions again and nobody played a bigger role than Finnish forward Lehkonen who was acquired from the Canadiens in late March ahead of the deadline.   

Lehkonen scored nine points (three goals, six goals) in 16 regular season games after arriving in Colorado last season, but it was in the playoffs where he made the biggest impression.  

In 20 post-season games, Lehkonen scored 14 points (eight goals, six assists) including a goal on the powerplay in Game 1 of the Final, a perfect breakout pass to set up Nazem Kadri’s overtime game-winner in Game 4, and had the Cup-winning goal to snap a 1-1 tie in the second period of Game 6. 

The winger signed a five-year contract extension in the off-season and the Avalanche are +525 to retain the Championship this season.  

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