Some eyebrows got lifted when a Calgary Flames done James Neal a healthy blemish on Friday night for Game 5 of their initial spin playoff array opposite a Colorado Avalanche. Neal, Calgary’s large giveaway representative signing of 2018, still has 4 deteriorate to go on his agreement value an annual top strike of $5.75 million dollars. Neal had a terrible year in Calgary, scoring usually 9 goals in 63 games this season, roughly an unbelievably bad outlay for a learned scorer who accessible 21+ goals in all 10 of his before NHL seasons before to fasten a Flames.
So instantly, a suspicion has to cocktail adult – could Neal (32 years aged before a start of subsequent season) be a fit behind with a Penguins where he scored 184 points in 199 unchanging deteriorate games from 2011-14? After all, there was chemistry and a lot of success for a actor here.
It doesn’t take a lot of wheel-turning to mix a thought of maybe flipping a unsatisfactory Neal and his bad agreement for another bad agreement for Pittsburgh to strew Jack Johnson. Both players have 4 years remaining and are eating adult some-more income than their contributions done in 2018-19.
But to chuck some cold H2O on this reasonable idea, as a Sunshine Scooter Lee Corso likes to contend — not so quick my friend.
The Flames already have 5 defensemen underneath agreement subsequent year for $3.5+ million on a top hit. and immature players they like such as Rasmus Andersson and Juuso Valimaki who have spin NHL regulars. They have simply no need for an overpaid (and not really good) aging maestro like Johnson usually to pierce out another bad agreement adult front in Neal.
But could it get imagination to embody more? Maybe it would be ironic, and about a income neutral pierce to trade, to send Patric Hornqvist and Johnson for Neal and a actor like Michael Stone. Ironic given Neal and Hornqvist were traded for any other once before in 2014 between Pittsburgh and Nashville.
Fancy ideas frequency come to delight in existence when forgetful adult a intensity trade (even yet a income and value seems reasonable for both teams). Plus Hornqvist’s agreement affords him an eight group no-trade clause that competence or competence not embody a western outpost like Calgary, that would positively stop any intensity stretched understanding like this in a tracks.
So while a lot of logistics make this thought a pipe-dream let’s also remember that James Neal was traded from a Pens for a reason. Though he did measure 40 goals in a 2011-12 deteriorate roving shotgun with Evgeni Malkin, Neal’s forward penalties done him a guilt in those same 2012 playoffs, among other times.
For chemistry and usually altogether “be a good person” factors, Neal was purposefully traded divided from Pittsburgh behind in 2014 — a group felt improved shipping him out notwithstanding his talent. Would they unexpected wish him back, generally now that they’re in a rut and looking to urge ubiquitous group cohesiveness? Seems doubtful even except a really genuine other reasons because such a trade wouldn’t be done in 2019.
Beyond that, a doubt needs to be asked that what does Neal still have left in a gas tank? As mentioned, Neal will spin 32 years aged before subsequent season, good past a standard aging bend of a sniper during a NHL level. That’s been reflected in his stats, too. Neal scored 27 goals and accessible 61 points (in usually 57 games) in his final deteriorate in Pittsburgh during age 26 in 2013-14. Since afterwards he hasn’t surfaced that deteriorate indicate total, and he has usually exceeded that 27 goals once in a 5 seasons given withdrawal Pittsburgh. All a while picking adult several injuries and traffic with a healthy course of time along a approach in a final 5 years. That all adds adult to tell us he is good past his approaching primary for indicate prolongation now as he enters his mid-30s.
So it is some-more than satisfactory to contend that they James Neal that we see currently in 2019 is not a 40-goal scorer James Neal of 2012 that Pens’ fans competence remember so fondly, his chemistry with Malkin notwithstanding. Another destined cause is a agreement — Neal is sealed for his age 32-35 deteriorate during that $5.75 million top strike that’s already looking awful during a moment, and usually promises to get worse as he continues to age and total to see a stability light decrease of his skills and production.
The Penguins should really try all accessible options and avenues to dump Jack Johnson if they wish to urge their group for 2019-20, and will expected have to take behind a not-go-good agreement to be means and strew 4 some-more years of JJ. But James Neal during his contract, age, prolongation and damage story is not a good alternative. Then cause in Calgary positively not wanting to barter Neal for an over-paid (and bad) aging defensemen in Johnson and a compare usually isn’t there for possibly party.
While it’s a good thought to cocktail into mind, generally with Neal a healthy blemish in playoffs like Johnson was for a Pens, it usually doesn’t go most serve than that as a fit for possibly team. The Pens shouldn’t cruise adding James Neal again during this indicate of his career — there’s too most container in a form of attitude, disappearing production, aging and damage risk and his agreement term.