NHL Power Rankings: Best ‘one-year rentals’ in NHL history

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In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings we take a look at the best players that spent just one season with a team.

There were a handful of significant players that changed teams this offseason that could one day find themselves as part of such a ranking (Taylor Hall, Henrik Lundqvist, Brandon Saad). With that in mind, we decided to take a look back at some of the notable and most impactful examples throughout NHL history.

We were looking for players that played one season or less with a team. This could have been the result of a free agent signing, an offseason trade, or a trade deadline deal. Either way: It could only be part of one season.

Which players make our list?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

Elite impact

1. Chris Pronger, Edmonton Oilers (2005-06). Edmonton fans might hate him for demanding a trade after one year, but what a year it was! This was peak Pronger when every team he went to immediately became a Stanley Cup contender. His one year in Edmonton, they went to the Stanley Cup Final. He goes to the Ducks, they win the Stanley Cup his first year. He goes to the Flyers, they go to the Stanley Cup Final in his first year. Pronger played 30 minutes per game, shut down everybody, and was a force offensively. A laughably dominant player.

2. Scott Stevens, St. Louis Blues (1990-91). Stevens get a high placement on the list not only because he was great during his one year with the Blues, but also for what it meant to the NHL landscape. He signed in St. Louis as a restricted free agent and became the highest paid defenseman in the league. One year later, the Blues signed Brendan Shanahan (also an RFA!) away from the New Jersey Devils, requiring compensation. Because the Blues’ first-round picks were going to Washington for signing Stevens, the two teams had to work out another deal. An arbitrator awarded Stevens to the Devils.

3. Dominik Hasek, Ottawa Senators (2005-06). In his 43 starts with the Senators he went 28-10-4 and had a .925 save percentage (second best in the league) all at the age of 41. Had he not suffered a season-ending injury at the 2006 Olympics he may have taken this Senators team to a Stanley Cup (they lost in the Second Round with Ray Emery in goal).

[MORE: ProHockeyTalk Free Agency Tracker]

4. Cory Stillman, Tampa Bay Lightning (2003-04). Maybe you do not remember his one year in Tampa Bay, but Lightning fans certainly should. He finished with 80 points in 81 games (eighth in the league), had 55 assists (second most in the league, one off the lead), was the team’s second-leading scorer, and did all of that for a Stanley Cup winning team.

5. Marian Hossa, Detroit Red Wings (2008-09). Hossa actually has two one-year stops that standout on his resume, but the 2008-09 season was the best. He signed a one-year deal with the Red Wings and scored 40 goals in 74 games for the defending Stanley Cup champions. The season ended in disappointment though when he lost to the team he left (Pittsburgh) in the Stanley Cup Final. His brief time in Pittsburgh is also worthy of attention for helping that team also reach the Stanley Cup Final. It was all part of a three-year stretch where he played in the Stanley Cup Final three years in a row with three different teams (Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago).

Yes they played here

6. Theo Fleury, Colorado Avalanche (1998-99). He only played 33 games in Colorado (regular season and playoffs) after being acquired at the trade deadline, but he dominated in those games. He scored 15 goals with 26 assists (41 total points) for an Avalanche team that was one game away from the Stanley Cup Final.

7. Sergei Zubov, Pittsburgh Penguins (1995-96). He had 66 points in 64 games on a Penguins team that dominated the league offensively. He should have been a perfect — PERFECT! — long-term fit with this team. But because he and Mario Lemieux did not click on the power play where they both wanted to run the show, Zubov was traded for Kevin Hatcher after one season.

8. Wayne Gretzky, St. Louis Blues (1995-96). The forgotten portion of Gretzky’s career. The Blues hoped he could be the missing piece for a potential championship, but Steve Yzerman dashed those dreams in the playoffs with Gretzky having a front row seat for it. Including playoffs, he only played 31 games for the Blues but was the team’s leading scorer (37 points) during that stretch.

9. Luc Robitaille, Pittsburgh Penguins (1994-95). Easy to forget as a Penguin because it was only one year in a lockout shortened season. He was excellent that year and also played a key role in the movie Sudden Death, so there is that.

10. Pat LaFontaine, New York Rangers (1997-98). What could have been. LaFontaine was great in his one year with the Rangers, but his career came to an end here due to concussion issues. He is the only player to ever play for all three New York teams. He played his entire NHL career in the Empire state.

Great seasons you might forget about

11. Robin Lehner, New York Islanders (2018-19). He backstopped the Islanders to a shocking Second Round playoff run in a season where nobody had any expectations for them at the start.

12. Vincent Damphouse, Edmonton Oilers (1991-92). Even after Gretzky and Mark Messier, the Oilers still made the Conference Final during the 1991-92 season. Damphouse was the driving force behind that run. He was traded to Montreal after that season.

13. Steve Duchesne, Quebec Nordiques (1992-93). Part of Quebec’s bounty in the Eric Lindros trade. He finished with 82 points in 82 games and a seventh place finish in the Norris Trophy voting in his one year with the Nordiques.

14. Jaromir Jagr, Philadelphia Flyers (2011-12). After three years in the KHL Jagr returned to the NHL, turned down his original team (Pittsburgh), signed with its cross-state rival, then helped eliminate them in the first round. Oh, he was also really good that year.

15. Jarome Iginla, Boston Bruins (2013-14). The Bruins missed out on Iginla at the 2013 trade deadline (he went to Pittsburgh) and then signed him the following offseason. He scored 30 goals in his one year with the Bruins.

16. Wendel Clark, New York Islanders/Quebec Nordiques (1994-95/1995-96). The real noteworthy aspect is the trades Clark was involved in. Quebec sent Mats Sundin to Toronto for him, and then after one year traded him to the Islanders for Claude Lemieux. That was a major trade for the Avalanche. Midway through his year on Long Island, the Islanders traded him to Toronto for a draft pick that was used to select Roberto Luongo.

The true rentals

17. Brian Campbell, San Jose Sharks (2007-08). An outstanding player that was never fully appreciated. The Sharks gave up a lot to get him at the 2008 trade deadline, and he was awesome in the stretch run (19 points in 20 regular season games; fifth place Norris Trophy finish) and playoffs. He signed a massive contract with Chicago the following offseason and was a key part of the 2010 Stanley Cup winning team.

18. Mark Recchi, Carolina Hurricanes (2005-06). A trade deadline pickup that was a solid role player on a Stanley Cup winning team.

19. Doug Weight, Carolina Hurricanes (2005-06). Another trade deadline pickup that another solid role player on the same Stanley Cup winning team.

20. Peter Forsberg, Nashville Predators (2006-07). This was an outstanding Predators team (third best record in the league) that looked poised to take a serious run at the Stanley Cup. Forsberg was at the end of his career, but he still made a nice impact. Unfortunately their playoff run was just five games, being eliminated by the San Jose Sharks.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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    Blue Jackets acquire D Damon Severson from Devils after he signs 8-year deal

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    The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired Damon Severson from the New Jersey Devils on Friday after the veteran defenseman and soon-to-be free agent signed an eight-year $50 million contract.

    Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen sent a third-round pick, 80th overall, in this month’s draft to the Devils for Severson, who will be under contract through the 2030-31 NHL season.

    Severson had 58 goals and 205 assists in 647 career appearances with the Devils since making his NHL debut in 2014-15. He scored seven game-winning goals and averaged more than 21 minutes of playing time during his nine seasons. The 28-year-old had seven goals and 26 assists this season, including two game-winning goals, in 81 games.

    “Damon is a versatile defenseman who has great vision, moves the puck extremely well, has good size and can play heavy minutes at both ends of the ice,” Kekalainen said.

    The Canadian was selected in the second round in the 2012 draft. He has collected 30 or more points five times in his career and twice notched 11 or more goals. He played in every game in three straight seasons from 2018-21 and has played 80 or more contests four times in his career.

    With the addition of the third-round pick, New Jersey now has six selections in the draft, including its own picks in rounds two, four, five, six and seven.

    Matthew Tkachuk returns from big hit in Stanley Cup Final, adds more playoff heroics

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    Matthew Tkachuk was down, out briefly and then back with plenty of time to make a difference.

    The Florida Panthers star left early in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final after a big hit from Vegas Golden Knights forward Keegan Kolesar, and he missed most of the first period and didn’t return immediately following intermission while being evaluated for a concussion. After looking as if he might be lost for the night, Tkachuk returned in the second and then came through with more of his now trademark playoff heroics.

    Tkachuk scored the tying goal with 2:13 left in regulation, forcing overtime and giving the Panthers new life. He then provided the screen on Carter Verhaeghe‘s OT goal for a 3-2 victory that cut Florida’s series deficit to 2-1.

    The 25-year-old said he knew he was coming back when he left the game, pulled by concussion spotters. That absence felt like a long time ago in the aftermath of another big win he was largely responsible for.

    “I felt great – I feel great,” Tkachuk said. “I’m ready to go. Everybody’s excited that we’re in this position right now.”

    Florida is in this position rather than facing elimination in Game 4 on Saturday thanks in large part to Tkachuk, who also set up Brandon Montour‘s goal that opened the scoring less than five minutes in.

    Not long after, Tkachuk stumbled getting up after the hit from Kolesar and skated to the bench. He took a shift on Florida’s power play before going down the tunnel at the demand of concussion spotters mandated by NHL protocol.

    At that point, there was zero clarity, even on the Florida bench.

    “You’re not informed at all: It’s a complete shutdown,” coach Paul Maurice said. “You are completely in the dark on those. You don’t know when the player’s coming back. There’s not an update.”

    Players insist they were not worried. Montour called it a no-brainer.

    “He’s going to come back no matter what,” captain Aleksander Barkov said. “He’s really tough guy, and he’s going to battle through everything.”

    Tkachuk rejoined his teammates on the bench a few minutes into the second. When he stepped back onto the ice for his first shift since leaving, fans cheered and chanted, “Chucky! Chucky!”

    The crowd was even louder and threw rats when Tkachuk scored his biggest goal of many during this run to tie it. He didn’t get an assist on Verhaeghe’s goal but made it happen with a tape-to-tape pass in the neutral zone and was in front of Adin Hill when it happened.

    Asked if he was happy Tkachuk returned, Maurice joked that it was after midnight.

    “It was fine,” he quipped.

    Panthers rally, top Golden Knights 3-2 in OT of Game 3 of Stanley Cup final

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    SUNRISE, Fla. — Carter Verhaeghe scored 4:27 into overtime and the Florida Panthers pulled off some more postseason dramatics to beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night.

    Matthew Tkachuk tied it with 2:13 left in the third period for the Panthers, who got the franchise’s first title-series game win in seven tries. Florida had to fend off a power play to start overtime, and Verhaeghe got the winner from the slot to get the Panthers within 2-1 in the series.

    Game 4 is Saturday night.

    Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 25 shots for Florida. Adin Hill made 20 saves for Vegas, but got beat on the only shot that came his way in overtime.

    Brandon Montour also scored for Florida, which pulled Bobrovsky down 2-1 late in the third for the extra attacker and Tkachuk — who left for parts of the first and second periods after taking a big hit — made that move pay off when he tied the game.

    His goal breathed life into a very nervous building. But the Panthers were furious — and replays showed they had a case — when Gustav Forsling was sent to the box with 11.2 seconds remaining for tripping. Florida survived that scare, and a few minutes later, had life in the series again.

    The odds are still long, but the Panthers at least have a bit more statistical hope now. Of the previous 55 teams to trail 2-1 at this point of the Stanley Cup Final, 11 have actually rallied to hoist the trophy.

    It’s improbable, sure. So are the Panthers, who were the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, were down 3-1 to Boston in Round 1, were 133 seconds away from trailing this series 3-0 — and now have tons of reasons for optimism.

    Jonathan Marchessault and Mark Stone each had power-play goals for Vegas.

    Marchessault’s goal was his 13th in his last 13 playoff games, his fourth of this series and his third with the man advantage.

    As if all that wasn’t enough, there was a little history in there as well. Vegas joined the 1980 New York Islanders as the only team with at least two power-play goals in three consecutive games in the Cup final. And Marchessault became the third player in the last 35 years to score in each of the first three games of a title series — joining Steve Yzerman in 1997 with Detroit and Jake Guentzel with Pittsburgh in 2017.

    But it wasn’t enough to give Vegas a 3-0 lead in the series.


    Before Thursday, Florida’s last home game in the title series was June 10, 1996, when Uwe Krupp scored in the third overtime for a 1-0 win as Colorado finished off a four-game sweep of the Panthers for the Cup. … Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was in the crowd, as was NBA great Charles Barkley, and former Dolphins star Dan Marino was the celebrity drummer to welcome the Panthers onto the ice.

    Blackhawks, Athanasiou agree to 2-year, $8.5 million contract

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    CHICAGO — The rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks locked in one of their top scorers, agreeing to a two-year, $8.5 million contract with forward Andreas Athanasiou on Thursday.

    The 28-year-old Athanasiou tied for the team lead with 20 goals and ranked third with 40 points in his first season with Chicago. He matched career highs with four game-winning goals and three power-play goals.

    The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Athanasiou has 125 goals and 111 assists in 459 games with the Detroit Red Wings (2015-20), Edmonton Oilers (2020), Los Angeles Kings (2020-22) and Blackhawks.

    Chicago went 26-49-7 and finished last in the Central Division. The Blackhawks dealt Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers prior to the trade deadline and announced in April they would not re-sign Jonathan Toews, parting with two players who led them to Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015.