NHL's Great Stretch-Drive Pickups
With the NHL trade deadline approaching, teams are trying to bulk up for the stretch drive. The Penguins have made an early splash by acquiring three veterans: forward Brenden Morrow from the Dallas Stars (for defensive prospect Joe Morrow and a 2013 fifth-round pick), defenseman Douglas Murray from the Sharks (for 2013 and '14 second-round picks) and, most notably, winger Jarome Iginla from the Flames (for two prospects and a 2013 first-rounder). Whether these players become key components of a Stanley Cup championship remains to be seen, but the Penguins were considered the heavy favorites. Here are some other notable stretch drive acquisitions that helped teams reach the Cup final or secure the old chalice.
After an unproductive stint in Columbus, the 27-year-old forward was acquired by the Kings on Feb. 23 for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick in the 2013 draft. Being reunited with former Flyers teammate Mike Richards helped revive Carter's comfort level and his scoring touch -- he'd been a 46-goal man in Philadelphia -- and he potted 18 goals in 32 games down the stretch as the Kings rallied to grab the eighth seed in the West. In the playoffs, he proved to be a force (eight goals, 13 points in 20 games), scoring his first career postseason hat trick in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals vs. Phoenix plus the OT winner in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final vs. New Jersey as well as the Cup-clincher in Game 6.
Boston's stretch drive acquisitions included defenseman Tomas Kaberle, forward Rich Peverley, and Kelly, who brought toughness, defensive reliability, and some scoring from the Senators on Feb. 15 for a 2011 second-round pick. "I've obviously had a connection with him in my time with Ottawa," Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told NHL.com. "He's a high-character person. He plays both ways. We needed a centerman that's going to give us some depth, and Chris can give us that and he can play up and down the lineup." During the Bruins' run to the Stanley Cup, the versatile Kelly appeared in 25 games, scoring five goals and 13 points with a solid 11 rating. He remains a valuable "glue guy" for Boston.
The productive winger was acquired from Anaheim with center Eric Tangradi on Feb. 26, 2009 for defenseman Ryan Whitney. A rugged forechecker with solid playmaking skills and scoring touch, Kunitz brought championship experience, having scored 25 goals for the Ducks' 2006-07 Stanley Cup championship team. He produced a goal and 13 assists in 24 playoff games during the Pens' run to the 2009 Cup and he's since proved to be a consistently valuable addition while playing on Sidney Crosby's line. Kunitz had a career year in 2011-12 (26 goals, 61 points) and followed it up by remaining in the top five of NHL scorers for much of 2013.
Among the significant pickups of 2008 was Pittsburgh's acquisition of sniper Marian Hossa, along with winger Pascal Dupuis, from Atlanta for winger Colby Armstrong, centers Erik Christensen and Angelo Esposito, and a 2008 first-round pick. The deal was questioned after Hossa signed with Detroit after the season, but for a little more than three months he played a vital, productive role in helping the Penguins reach the Stanley Cup Final.
The Wings added valuable depth to their blueline by acquiring the reliable Stuart from Los Angeles for a second- and a fourth-round pick. He was given a spot on Detroit's second pairing as the Wings went on to win the Stanley Cup, and was later re-signed.
Richards brought a playmaking spark from Tampa Bay in a deal that included backup goaltender Johan Holmqvist for Stars netminder Mike Smith, center Jeff Halpern, winger Jussi Jokinen and a fourth-round pick in 2009. He immediately caught fire in Dallas, scoring 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 12 games down the stretch and another 15 in the playoffs as the Stars became a spring surprise by reaching the Western Conference finals.
Doug Weight, Mark Recchi
The 'Canes added Weight to their offense on Jan. 30 by giving the Blues three picks and three players, and replaced the injured Erik Cole by renting Recchi from Pittsburgh an hour before the March 9 trading deadline. Each player scored 16 postseason points as Carolina drove to its first Stanley Cup.
Acquiring the journeyman goaltender from the Wild on March 8 for a first-round pick proved to be a surprisingly successful move. Roloson went 8-7, 2.43 GAA down the stretch and backstopped the upstart Oilers to the Cup finals before being sidelined with a sprained knee in Game 1.
Rob Niedermayer, Steve Thomas
Thomas, a speedy, hard-working winger with scoring touch, had made deep playoff runs with the Islanders ('93) and Maple Leafs ('86, '99). He was acquired from Chicago on March 11, the day the big, fast Niedermayer, a veteran of Florida's surprising run to the '96 Cup finals, arrived. The pair helped propel the surprising Ducks to a seven-game Cup finals loss to the Devils.
Boston's iconic, high-scoring backliner was dealt to Colorado at the deadline, hoping to finally win the Cup. The Avs fell in the Western Conference final, but Bourque ultimately sipped from the chalice in 2001 -- his 22nd and final season -- after contributing 10 points in 21 postseason games.
The hardworking winger was a key part of Montreal's '93 Cup champs, and later donned the Habs' C, before he was traded with Patrick Roy to Colorado during the Avs' 1995-96 Cup season. The Stars acquired him from the Rangers before the '98 deadline. A year later, Keane gave Dallas a dose of indispensable grit during the Stars' Cup run in '99.
The offensively gifted veteran, who won two Cups with Pittsburgh, was acquired from Toronto on March 18. The Wings went on to win the Cup, the first of their two consecutive championships with the future Hall of Famer on the backline.
Poor skating didn't prevent Sheppard from scoring 52 goals for Detroit in 1993-94, and his scrappy skill sparked Florida's surprising run to the '96 Cup finals after he was acquired from San Jose on March 16. Sheppard scored eight goals and 16 points in Florida's 21 postseason games.
The legendary Russian defenseman was dealt by the Devils on April 4. In Detroit, he replaced the injured Mark Howe and the Wings soared to the Cup finals where they were swept by Fetisov's former team. But Fetisov later skated for Detroit's 1997 and '98 Cup-winners.
Acquired from Chicago with Brian Noonan on March 21, this grinding winger with '92 Cup finals experience was overshadowed by the deadline arrival of former Oilers star Glenn Anderson. Matteau entered Rangers lore by scoring the double-OT goal in Game 7 of the Eastern final that sent them toward their first Cup in 54 years.
A member of Edmonton's 1990 Cup champs, Gelinas was plucked off waivers from Quebec on Jan. 15 and began a string of remarkable postseason performances. The winger helped the Canucks reach the Cup finals against the Rangers and later scored huge postseason goals for Cup finalists Carolina (2000) and Calgary (2004).
Ulf Samuelsson, Ron Francis
Pittsburgh's run of two successive Cups began after Francis arrived from Hartford on March 4. One of the best two-way forwards, he scored 17 points in the postseason and became a Pens' mainstay for seven seasons. Feared blueliner Samuelsson, acquired with Francis, added bruising physicality.
A veteran of three Cups in Edmonton, the disgruntled Moog was dealt to Boston on March 12, pairing with Reggie Lemelin to send the Bruins to the finals. The deal also benefited the Oilers, who received goalie Bill Ranford, the starter on their 1989-90 team that beat Moog's B's in the Cup finals.
The Hall of Fame forward arrived from St. Louis in a six-player deal on Feb. 1, bringing toughness, scoring and superb two-way play. He scored 29 goals down the stretch and another 12 in the playoffs as the Flames reached the Cup finals, only to fall to Montreal.
The final piece that launched the Isles' dynasty arrived at midnight before the deadline. Goring brought crucial leadership, experience, durability, face-off skills and additional scoring from the Kings in exchange for Dave Lewis and Billy Harris. The Isles went on to win the first of their four straight Cups. Goring won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1981.