3 unprecedented players moved before the NHL trade deadline who will reward their new team

NHL Trade Deadline Day has arrived, but there have already been several unprecedented moves that will pay off across the league.

Jan 2, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Washington Capitals defenseman Joel Edmundson (6) warms
Jan 2, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Joel Edmundson (6) warms / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Joel Edmundson was a sneaky good move for the Maple Leafs

On Thursday, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for Joel Edmundson, and this came roughly a week following the Ilya Lyubushkin trade. While Lyubushkin was good at adding depth to what has been an underperforming defensive rotation, the trade for Edmundson should give Maple Leafs fans some relief. 

While he’s a physical player, finishing checks isn’t the only thing Edmundson can do for Toronto on what should be the third-pairing. Edmundson also isn’t on pace to be as effective as he was last season in getting in front of scoring lanes. However, he will do an adequate job in landing some hits and getting in front of pucks, but let’s talk about an underrated aspect of his game this season: Helping to create opportunities in the offensive zone at a better rate than his numbers may show. 

Nobody will claim Edmundson is a two-way player, but a 47.7 Corsi For at 5-on-5 is his highest since he logged a 54.5 during that magical 2020-21 season with the Montreal Canadiens. Now that Edmundson will be playing for a Maple Leafs team that is more capable of scoring than the Capitals, don’t be surprised if he surprises us and gets more involved in the offensive zone during his 16 to 17 minutes per game in Toronto. 

Not to mention the fact Edmundson could give the Maple Leafs some solid shorthanded minutes, something Toronto can still use. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference as of March 7th)