Friday, July 19, 2019

NHL Trade Review: Flames and Oilers swap bad contracts

         The Edmonton Oilers have acquired F James Neal from the Calgary Flames in exchange for F Milan Lucic.

         Both players have four more years left on their albatross of a contract. Lucic has a $6 million cap hit, and Neal's is $5.75 million. So the trade already doesn't look great for Calgary, though $0.25 million won't hurt anyone. But the main losing point is that Neal is a better player than Lucic. While Neal will be 32 and Lucic 31, Neal scored 20 goals in his first 10 NHL seasons with four different teams, before collapsing in Calgary for one season. Him falling might have been more on the team and coaching staff rather than the player. The same could be said for Lucic, who did score 23 goals and 50 points in his first year in Edmonton, but has 16 goals and 54 points in the two years since. He's also one of the worst skaters in the NHL. The Oilers are desperate for skill, and Neal has more of that.

         Neal, who will be 32 when the season starts, scored seven goals with 12 assists for 19 points in 63 games for Calgary this year, but scored 25 the year before. In his NHL career for the Flames, Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars, Neal has scored 270 goals with 244 assists for 514 points in 766 games.

         Lucic, 31, scored six goals with 14 assists for 20 points in 79 games for the Oilers this past season. In his career for the Oilers, Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings, Lucic has scored 198 goals with 303 assists for 501 points in 890 games.

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