Leafs join the NHL trade deadline party as Oilers and Avalanche make more moves

Estimated read time 4 min read

With one sleep left before the NHL trade deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs joined the party by bulking up on defense and two Western Conference Stanley Cup contenders made more moves to improve in crucial areas.

The Colorado Avalanche acquired a pair of versatile forwards from Central Division rivals, Brandon Duhaime from Minnesota for a third-round pick in 2026 and Yakov Trenin from Nashville for a 2025 third and defense prospect Jeremy Hanzel. The Edmonton Oilers got defenseman Troy Stecher from Arizona for a fourth-rounder in 2027, and the Leafs received Joel Edmundson from Washington for a third-rounder in this year’s draft and a 2025 fifth.

“Every team has a window in which they see success or a key moment of time for the organization — whether it’s two years, five years, depending on expiring contracts who they have to renew,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “There’s lots of teams going all-in: teams that feel like they’ve got a chance to win, if they add certain things to their lineup, they’re going to go all-in. Your goal is to win the Stanley Cup. We’re not trying to be a mediocre team.”

It shows. Colorado and Edmonton stayed active, after the Avalanche added center Casey Mittelstadt and defenseman Sean Walker in separate deals and the Oilers giving themselves serious depth down the middle by trading with Anaheim for Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick.

Toronto’s trade for Edmundson started the action Thursday, adding some much needed toughness on the blue line. He’s a left shot, which the Leafs have plenty of, but his playoff experience alone makes Edmundson a potentially important acquisition for a team dreaming of an extended run this spring.

The Capitals are retaining half of what’s left of Edmundson’s salary after Montreal already has 50% from a trade last offseason and getting a third-rounder that originally belonged to the New York Islanders. Salary retention makes the him quite the bargain for the Leafs at a cap hit of $875,000, just above the league minimum.

Edmundson, 30, helped the St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup in 2019 and is a pending free agent. He has skated over 16 minutes a game this season with Washington.

Earlier in the week, Edmundson seemed content with the possibility of being traded to a contender, though his focus at the time was on helping the Capitals.

“Everyone wants to win,” he said. “I want to win every year, so I think once you get that feeling once, you just want it to happen every year and when you see other teams win it, you just kind of get jealous and frustrated. So yeah, we all want to win it every year.”

But it’s not just the championship contenders getting in on the action. The Predators, who hold one of the two wild-card playoff spots in the West, acquired winger Anthony Beauvillier from Chicago for a 2024 fifth-round pick.

Nashville also claimed forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

Still also likely to be moved before 3 p.m. EST on Friday are Pittsburgh wingers Jake Guentzel and Reilly Smith, Washington center Nic Dowd and a couple of more Arizona pending free agents: defenseman Matthew Dumba and ex-Penguins forward Jason Zucker.

Seattle’s Jordan Eberle, who’s also on an expiring contract, could also be the next to go after the Kraken sent Alexander Wennberg to the New York Rangers earlier this week.

“From a player standpoint, we just want to continue to win,” Eberle said. “From a management standpoint, it’s a little harder, right, because they’re stuck between, do we have a chance, or do we want to get rid of some pieces? I can’t really say anything on their behalf. I think I can only say as a player, we’re just focusing on winning.”


AP Sports Writers Pat Graham in Denver and Tim Booth in Seattle contributed.


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