As front offices around the league call and text trying to find the right fit for their rosters, fans are waiting with bated breath wondering who could be pulling on their favorite sweater in the next few weeks. Will a superstar change hands and take over as the new face of a franchise? Will a veteran finally find his way to the Stanley Cup promised land? The deadline is now less than six weeks away.
We may not have to wait until the very end to answer these questions though, as January has been a busy month for trade action in the past. We’ve already had two moves this year, and several more could be finalized before the calendar turns over. For now, let’s take a look back at the last few years to see what kind of moves are made in the dawn of the new year.
January 4th: Edmonton acquires Al Montoya from Montreal in exchange for a 2018 conditional fourth-round pick.
January 1st: Arizona acquires Mitchell Moroz from Edmonton in exchange for Henrik Samuelsson.
January 11th: Anaheim acquires Jhonas Enroth from Toronto for a 2018 seventh-round pick.
January 13th: Nashville acquires Cody McLeod from Colorado in exchange for Felix Girard.
January 19th: Nashville acquires Andrew O’Brien from Anaheim for Max Gortz.
Obviously 2017 wasn’t filled with the most blockbuster trades in the month of January, but several teams did add small pieces for potential playoff runs. Nesterov didn’t really work out in Montreal, and Wingels couldn’t find his scoring touch in Ottawa.
January 14th: Ottawa acquires Conor Allen from Nashville in exchange for Patrick Mullen.
2016 was a much more active January, with big names like Lecavalier, Johansen and Jones all dealt. While the Nashville-Columbus trade might have had the biggest impact long-term, Pittsburgh’s acquisition of Hagelin was a big part of their Stanley Cup run, as he scored 27 points down the stretch and added another 16 in the playoffs.
There is certainly value to be had in January trades, and it’s clear that teams like Nashville and Anaheim aren’t scared of making an early move. While those two might not be the most watched teams on the trade market this year, don’t rule them out of making tweaks once again.