Five Best Montreal Canadiens Trade Deadline Deals Ever

May 24, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault
May 24, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault / Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
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2. The Alex Kovalev Trade

The Montreal Canadiens were in a bit of a funk in the late 1990's and it spilled over into the early 2000's as well. The team had some of its worst seasons every around the turn of the century, though a ridiculous Jose Theodore season in 2001-02 saw them make the playoffs (barely) once in a five year span.

They finally snapped out of that drought in 2003-04 and had a lot more success after the 2005 lockout than they did in the years leading up to it. A lot of that success started with the acquisition of Alex Kovalev.

The Canadiens were in a battle for a playoff spot in 2004 but didn't have a ton of scoring. A couple of rookies were leading the way as Mike Ribeiro and Michael Ryder had some early success and they did still have Saku Koivu and Richard Zednik but that was about it for offense. They needed a bit more to round out their top six and they got it at the trade deadline.

The New York Rangers were a high spending but disappointing team that season and had a yard sale at the deadline. Brian Leetch, Martin Rucinsky, Vladimir Malakhov, Petr Nedved, Matthew Barnaby and Greg DeVries were all traded that deadline, along with Kovalev.

The return for Kovalev was Josef Balej and a second round pick. Kovalev would immediately help the Canadiens upset the Boston Bruins in the first round of that year's playoffs, and become they go-to offensive threat for the next four seasons. His 2007-08 season saw him score 35 goals and 84 points, which is the only time a Canadiens player had over 80 points since 1998.

Considering the modest return, getting a game breaking offensive talent like Kovalev at the deadline was an incredible trade for the Canadiens.