General Manager Julien BriseBois says the Tampa Bay Lightning's acquisitions of forwards Brandon Hagel and Nick Paul have improved their chances to three-peat as Stanley Cup champions.
The Lightning, 19/2 to be crowned champions for the third time in a row, added Hagel from the Chicago Blackhawks and Paul from the Ottawa Senators ahead of the NHL trade deadline on 21st March.
Hagel has so far scored twice in eight games for the Lightning, whilst 27-year-old Paul has registered one goal and four assists in seven appearances.
The pair, who BriseBois says open up options for coach Jon Cooper, have helped the Lighting collect nine points from a possible 14 since the trade window slammed shut.
With a 43-18-7 overall record, the Lightning currently sit third in the Atlantic Division, tied on points with the Toronto Maple Leafs who are second.
BriseBois was hired by the Lightning in 2010 as assistant general manager.
Eight years later, he was promoted to the top job and has enjoyed significant success since winning the Presidents’ Trophy as the team with the best regular season record in his first season and the ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup, twice.
He said in an interview for NHL.com: "We were trying to improve our team, trying to improve our depth, trying to get as many good players possible.
"The two players we were able to bring in, they give our coaches options and they make our group better. They provide versatility, they can play in different situations.
"That was the mindset, let's improve our team."