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Marian Hossa skates for the Penguins against the Rangers
By the spring of 2008, the Pittsburgh Penguins were considered by many to be an up-and-coming-team but not a serious contender for the Stanley Cup.
That view changed when Pens GM Ray Shero landed the biggest name on the trade market, forward Marian Hossa, who, along with Pascal Dupuis, was acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for forwards Erik Christensen, Colby Armstrong and Angelo Esposito along with the Pens' first-round pick in the 2008 draft.
With the addition of Hossa, the Pens had finally acquired an all-star winger to play alongside Sidney Crosby and had become a force to be reckoned with in the postseason. During the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs, Hossa led the Pens in scoring and tallied 12 goals including the series-clinching goal in overtime of Game 5 against the New York Rangers which propelled the Pens to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001.
In Dupuis, the Pens gained a fast-skating and hard-working player who has become a fixture on the top line. This past season, he scored 20 goals in just 48 games and figures to be the Pens' top priority in free agency.
Although the Pens would fall short to Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals, the acquisition of Hossa and Pascal Dupuis proved to be an important step in the development of an inexperienced Pens team.
While many fans still hold a grudge against Hossa for rejecting the Pens' contract offer and jumping to the Red Wings later that year, it should not forgotten that the trade that brought him to Pittsburgh made the Penguins instant contenders and paved the way for them to win the Stanley Cup the following season.