Rented players are often the most traded currency before the NHL trade deadline, and two high-profile suspended free agents have been on the move in the past week.
The St. Louis Blues traded Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly, who could be unrestricted free agents this summer, to the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. It is likely that one of these players will have a successful but brief stay with his new clubs, and end up on a future version of the best pure rentals of the salary cap era.
But the run-up to the trade deadline is also a time when an NHL general manager can make a long-term addition. Whether it’s a player who still has time left on his contract, or someone like Bo Horvat who was traded and then immediately signed an eight-year deal with the New York Islanders, GMs can find long-term roster solutions during the time he’s often focused on gaining. short term for competing clubs.
This version of the roster is about those players – added in the days before the trade deadline, life flipped mid-season, but the new home has been a hit for the long haul. Like the pure rental list, we’ll commit to deals within six weeks or so of the deadline, so early-season moves don’t work here.
We will also be committed to veteran/established players in the NHL and the salary cap era. Prospects get traded around this time of year, but they’ve usually been in the team’s hold for a long time, so it shouldn’t be surprising if they’ve spent half a decade or more in their new city. This is why Filip Forsberg is not at or near the top of this list.
Our list includes two mainstays from the Los Angeles Kings championship teams, two players who’ve spent a lot of time skating next to Sidney Crosby, two future captains and a bunch of fullbacks.
March 4, 2009 – The Kings trade Patrick O’Sullivan and a 2009 second-round pick to the Hurricanes for Williams
O’Sullivan and a different second in 2009 went to Edmonton for Erik Cole in this three-team trade. Williams became an important player for two Stanley Cup winning teams during his three years in Los Angeles, earning the nickname “Mr. Game 7” for late postseason champions. The Kings were a darling in the early analytics, and Williams became a star in the Corsair era because he was one of the best players in the league at winning puck fights along the boards and creating/maintaining offensive possessions. He spent the next six seasons after this trade in Los Angeles. The Hurricanes fared well as well, with Cole getting a senior single season in his second round of service with the club and becoming their second round pick Brian Dumoulin. He was a key part of the trade that brought Jordan Staal to Carolina.
February 23, 2012 – The Kings traded Jack Johnson and selected him in the 2013 first round for Jackie Carter
Carter signed an 11-year, $58 million contract, one of the “hole” deals that helped the Kings and Blackhawks dominate this stretch before the league ended it. He signed this contract with the Flyers and was then traded twice before finding a home in Los Angeles. He spent nine full years with the Kings, winning titles in 2012 and 2014, before he was traded to Pittsburgh. He is in the top ten in franchise history for goals during the regular season, while only Wayne Gretzky and Luc Ropitelle have more playoff goals for the Kings.
Feb. 26, 2009 – Penguins trade Ryan Whitney to the Ducks for Konitz and Eric Tangradi
Tangradi was an interesting prospect, but Kunitz has become a staple for the Penguins, particularly alongside Crosby. The Ducks traded Whitney to Edmonton the following season, while Kunitz won the Stanley Cup four months after the trade and again in 2016. He has scored the 10th most goals in Penguins history, more for the franchise than Hall of Fame talent Ron Francis, Mark Reechi and Joe Mullen, who have spent at least 379 matches with the club.
February 19, 2011 – The Avalanche trade Kevin Schattenkirk and Chris Stewart and a 2011 second-round pick to the Blues for Johnson, Jay McCliment and a 2011 first-round pick
This was a seismic trade, involving three exciting young players. Stewart spent two full seasons with St. Louis before going to Buffalo in a deal with Ryan Miller and Steve Ott. Earning Calder Trophy votes at the end of that season, Shattenkirk then spent five full years with the Blues. He finished 20th in voting twice into the Norris Cup and was then traded to Washington at the 2017 deadline. A top pick in the 2006 NHL draft, Johnson made a long career at Colorado as a solid and rarely stunning defenseman. He’s one of seven players to play more than 700 games with the Avalanche, winning the Trophy for the first time at the age of 34 last season.
February 26, 2008 – The Penguins trade Colby Armstrong, Eric Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a 2008 first-round pick to the Thrashers for Marian Hossa and Dupuy
Hossa was No. 1 on our list for pure hires in the salary cap era after his incredible performance during the 2008 playoffs. Well, he left for Detroit and not only hooked Dupuy, but became a regular starter for the Penguins. He was a deep scorer for the 2009 champions, but Dupuy moved up the line-up and scored 80 goals over the next four seasons. He had 20 of 48 games in the abbreviated 2013 season, and finished 7th in Selke Trophy voting. Injuries hampered him near the end, but Dupuy spent eight seasons after being traded to Pittsburgh.
April 1, 2013 – The Blues trade Rito Pera, Mark Cundari and a 2013 first-round pick to the Flames for Bouwmeester
At the time of the trade, Bouwmeester had played 750 NHL games without making the playoffs (which was the most in league history for anyone who had not). He played in 75 postseason games with the Blues, including reaching the Stanley Cup in 2019. Baumeister spent the last seven seasons of his career with the Blues and averaged over 20 minutes per game in all of them.
February 21, 2011 – Stars James Neal and Matt Niskanen traded to the Penguins for Alex Goligewski
Neal got off to a rocky start with his new team after the trade, then scored 88 goals over the next three seasons before being replaced by eventual Stanley Cup champion (Patrick Hornqvist). Niskanen spent three solid seasons with the Penguins before signing with rivals Capitals and winning the 2018 National Cup. But it was Guligewski who scored the most with his new team. He spent five seasons with the Stars and played over 23 minutes per night for Dallas.
February 18, 2011 – Senators replace Avalanche’s Brian Elliott in favor of Anderson
Anderson had started with Colorado the previous year in the playoffs, but they turned him over for Elliott, who went 2-8-1 for them in 12 games before moving on. Anderson spent the next nine seasons with Ottawa. He is the franchise leader in games played and won by the goalkeeper.
Dion Phaneuf and Matt Stajan
Jan 31, 2010 – The Maple Leafs trade Stajan, Ian White, Jamal Myers and Niklas Hagmann to the Flames for Phaneuf, Keith Uley and Fredrik Sjöstrom
A huge change deal for both teams about five weeks before the deadline, Phaneuf and Stajan both found new homes long after this one. Neither team made the playoffs in 2010, but Phaneuf eventually became Toronto’s captain, signing a seven-year, $49 million contract…and was one of the most polarizing players of Toronto’s cap era. Stajan signed two four-year contracts with the Flames after joining Calgary as a UFA suspended in 2010. He scored double-digit goals in six straight years for the Maple Leafs, then proceeded to do so only once in his eight years with the Flames.
February 10, 2011 – The Predators traded a 2011 first-round and 2012 third-round pick for Ottawa Fisher
Here are four trades on this list that happened in an 11-day period in 2011. The trade made headlines outside of hockey because Fisher is married to Carrie Underwood. He spent the last seven years of his playing career with the Predators, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017. Fisher currently has the eighth most goals in Predators history, though Ryan Johansen is behind him.
March 4, 2014 – Panthers trade Jacob Markstrom and Sean Mathias to the Canucks for Longo
Luongo cemented his place in the Hall of Fame with two Top 10 Vezina Trophies in the space of five or more years after he was traded back to the Panthers. His contract caused his Vancouver story to deteriorate, but Longo remained one of the best goalkeepers in the world well into his 30s. Luongo had a save percentage of 0.922 from the day after the trade through the end of 2017-18 (his 38 season)—only John Gibson and Corey Crawford (both at 0.923) have had better 150 games over that span. .
March 2, 2015 – The Canadiens traded a 2015 second-round pick and a 2015 fourth-round pick to the Oilers for Petree
Petrie went from being underappreciated in Edmonton to a staple on the Montreal blue line for seven years. He played approximately 23 minutes per game during his time with the Canadiens, while catching Norris votes in 2019 and 2021 and helping the club reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2021. Edmonton used a second player to trade Cam Talbot and drafted Caleb Jones with a pick Fourth round.
February 27, 2016 – Penguins trade a 2016 third-round draft pick to the Oilers for Schultz
Hello, another Oilers defenseman who left Edmonton and found more success elsewhere. It was immediate for Schultz, who helped the Penguins win the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017. He spent four full seasons with Pittsburgh, including career-best 12 goals and 51 points in the 2016-17 season. Schultz also led defenseman Chris Letang with four goals and 13 points during the playoffs.
February 10, 2007 – Bruins trade Wayne Primo, Brad Stewart and a conditional fourth-round pick to the Flames for Ference and Chuck Kobasew
Kobasew had productive seasons for the Bruins, but Ference became a regular on the Boston Blue Line for six years after this trade. Furness was never considered an offensive defenseman, but he scored four goals and 10 points during Boston’s run to the 2011 championship. That deal worked out well for Calgary, too. The Flames only earned a fourth round pick if Stewart did not sign with the team. He didn’t, and the Flames selected TJ Brodie by choice.
February 26, 2008 – The Devils trade Cam Janssen to the Blues for El Salvador
Salvador spent six seasons with the Devils, including reaching the 2012 Stanley Cup Final. He was named captain in January 2013, becoming the third black player in league history to wear a “C” after Dirk Graham and Jarome Iginla. As a bonus, he worked on the team’s telecasts after his retirement and is one of the best studio analysts in the NHL. Janssen was always known for working with his fists, but he actually scored more goals for the Devils when he got back on the teams after years on the trade than he did during his time in St. Louis.
(Top photo by Justin Williams: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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