There is no set blueprint for a team set on winning the Stanley Cup can follow at the trade deadline. Over the 7 years between lockouts, most teams that ended up winning the Cup made some key additions during the season, while others simply tinkered with lineups and didn’t really add any impact players. Here is a breakdown of deals that were made by eventual Stanley Cup Champs:
2006 – Carolina added veterans Doug Weight and Mark Recchi and depth defenseman Anton Babchuk during the season. Weight was added in late January while Recchi was acquired at the deadline. Both were key contributors in the Stanley Cup run, although Weight missed the last two games of the final with an injury. Babchuk payed half of the games in the playoffs, but was a solid addition giving them depth and options.
2007 – Anaheim added veteran tough guys George Parros and Brad May during the season. Parros was added before the midway point and May closer to the deadline. While Parros played only 5 post-season games, May got into 18 games and provided the toughness needed to help the Ducks lift the Cup.
2008 – The Detroit Red Wings pretty much stayed pat with their club, adding only veteran defenseman Brad Stuart to shore up the top 4 blueliners that included Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Chris Chelios.
2009 – The Penguins, after falling to the Wings the previous season, added some veteran leadership in Bill Guerin, Chris Kunitz, Craig Adams (via waivers) and Philippe Boucher. All but Boucher brought Stanley Cup rings with them as the Penguins exacted revenge by beating the Wings in the finals.
2010 – The Chicago Blackhawks added Kim Johnsson about a month before the deadline and then Nick Boynton at the deadline after Johnsson got injured. Boynton played in only 3 playoff games so was not a huge contributor.
2011 – The Boston Bruins had some success as the deadline approached, adding Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly to shore up the third line, and defenseman Tomas Kaberle all in the month leading up to the trade deadline. The three acquisitions combined for 36 points in the playoff run that culminated with a victory over the Canucks.
2012 – The LA Kings did some tinkering in the off-season with the Mike Richards trade, but did make one key deal leading up to the deadline when they dealt Jack Johnson to the Blue Jackets for Jeff Carter. Carter was reunited with Richards and Simon Gagne in LA and contributed 13 points during the dominant playoff run.
So there you have it. There is really no set solution to building a Stanley Cup winner. Most teams that have the ultimate success to something leading up to the deadline, but don’t always need to make impact moves to disrupt the roster. However, most teams identify a key need to fill, whether it be bringing in leadership or top end talent.