The NHL trade deadline is still a few months away, but it is not too soon to start thinking about which players could help put some of the Stanley Cup contenders over the top.

While "the big trade" might not always lead to a championship for every team that makes one, most Stanley Cup winners tend to add somebody to their roster to help out.

Colorado added Artturi Lehkonen last year. Tampa Bay traded for Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow before that. The Capitals nabbed Michal Kempný in 2018, while Pittsburgh acquired players like Carl Hagelin, Ron Hainsey and Trevor Daley to its back-to-back winners in 2016 and 2017. There is always somebody a team can add to make an impact.

With that in mind, let's take a look at 10 potential Stanley Cup contenders that are in most need of adding somebody that can put them over the top.

A few potential contenders did not make our list just because, at this point, they may not need anything or may already have help on the way from within.

The Lightning, for example, have spent most of the season playing without Anthony Cirelli and just saw him return earlier this month. Florida has been without Aaron Ekblad for a handful of games and has an Anthony Duclair return on the horizon. Carolina hopes it can get Max Pacioretty back in time for the playoff push. The Penguins should be getting a top defender in Kris Letang back relatively soon.

But as for some other potential contenders? Let's take a look at what they might need.

 

Colorado Avalanche: Jonathan Toews

Colorado's big issue right now is that its roster has been decimated by injuries, putting its depth to the test. Even when fully healthy, the Avalanche could use an upgrade at center following the offseason departure of Nazem Kadri in free agency.

Players like J.T. Compher and Evan Rodrigues are fine depth players, but they are not who you want centering your second line on a potential Stanley Cup run.

Jonathan Toews, on the other hand, might still have something left in the tank to help a contender.

Chicago's management would be derelict in its duty if it does not explore trades for Toews and Patrick Kane, and the players would have to least consider the chance to play for a contender again.

The Blackhawks are not going anywhere this season, and given the long-term nature of their rebuild, there is zero reason for either side to seek out a contract extension beyond sentimental reasons. A trade makes the most sense, and Colorado would be an ideal fit for the former.

Toews is not anywhere near the player he was in his prime, but with eight goals and 14 points through 24 games, he is still close to a 30-goal pace over 82 games and would probably get a little boost being surrounded by Stanley Cup talent on his wings.

When healthy, Colorado still has the talent to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, but it just needs a little help down the middle. Toews can still provide that.

 

New Jersey Devils: Bo Horvat

The Devils have been the biggest surprise in the NHL this season and have come out of nowhere to emerge as a top Stanley Cup contender. And there is not much to indicate this start is a fluke.

They have some of the league's most dominant possession and scoring chance numbers at even-strength (via Natural Stat Trick), generating more than 60 percent of the expected goals and 59 percent of scoring chances.

Their young talent has really taken off with Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier leading the way, while their no-name defense has taken a huge step forward thanks to their offseason addition of John Marino, the emergence of Jonas Siegenthaler and a healthy Dougie Hamilton.

So what do they need?

A legit third-line center to play behind Hischier, and Bo Horvat would be an absolute dream.

He has been one of the few bright spots on an otherwise underwhelming Vancouver Canucks team, and as a pending unrestricted free agent after this season, he seems like an obvious trade candidate.

At some point, the Canucks have to start making significant changes to a roster that has produced nothing in recent years, and their salary cap situation makes a new Horvat contract seem problematic despite his production (and captaincy).

Horvat has scored at a 30-plus-goal pace the past two years and is on pace for a career-best performance this season with 20 goals in his first 31 games. He would make an already powerful Devils lineup even better and give them a shot to really make some noise in the East.