Maple Leafs join NHL trade deadline party as Oilers, Avalanche make more moves

With just one night left before the NHL trade deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs joined the party Thursday by strengthening their defense, while two Stanley Cup title contenders in the Western Conference made more moves to improve in crucial areas.

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And one of the East's top teams appears to be on the verge of making a big splash.

Colorado acquired two versatile forwards from Central Division rivals Brandon Duhaime from Minnesota and Yakov Trenin from Nashville, Edmonton got defenseman Troy Stecher from Arizona and Toronto received Joel Edmundson from Washington.

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

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

The Avalanche sent a 2026 third-round pick to the Wild for Duhaime and a 2025 third-round pick and defensive prospect Jeremy Hanzel to the Predators for Trenin and the rights to unsigned draft pick Graham Sward. The Oilers sent a 2027 fourth-round pick to the Coyotes for Stecher, and the Leafs got Edmundson from the Capitals for a third-round pick this year and a 2025 fifth-rounder.

Carolina raised some red flags by placing goaltender Antti Raanta, defenseman Tony DeAngelo and forward Brendan Lemieux on waivers, moves that would free up significant cap space. The Hurricanes then left Michael Bunting out of their Thursday night game for trade-related reasons, sparking rumors that they might be getting the best player available, Pittsburgh forward Jake Guentzel.

Deadline is 3 p.m. m. EST on Friday.

Toronto's trade for Edmundson began action on Thursday, adding some much-needed toughness on the blue line. He's a lefty, of which the Leafs have many, but his playoff experience alone makes Edmundson a potentially important acquisition for a team dreaming of a long run this spring.

The Capitals are retaining a quarter of Edmundson's salary after Montreal already has half of a trade last summer and getting a third-round pick that originally belonged to the New York Islanders. The salary holdup makes him a bargain for the Leafs with a cap hit of $875,000, just above the league minimum.

"He's a really tough, strong player when it comes to physical battles," retired former forward Brian Boyle said of Edmundson. "The Leafs need a little more of that, and they just got it."

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 per game this season with Washington.

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

"Everyone wants to win," he said. "I want to win it 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 get jealous and frustrated. So, yeah, we all want to win it every year. years".

But it's not just the top championship contenders who are joining the action. The Tampa Bay Lightning, who won back-to-back Cup titles in 2020 and '21, acquired offensive-minded forward Anthony Duclair from San Jose on Thursday night. They sent a third-round pick this year and minor league defenseman Jack Thompson to the Sharks for a 2025 seventh-round pick and Duclair, who has seven goals in his last eight games.

Tampa Bay, currently in a wild card spot in the East, is trying to extend its playoff streak to seven years while missing injured defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, who is out indefinitely with a broken left leg.

"It's unfortunate that one of our big guys back there is out, but we've been able to hang in there without him," coach Jon Cooper said. "This group here is ready to make a