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By swapping Lucic and Neal, Oilers and Flames pull off deal involving in any other case unmovable contracts

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In a deal of two under-performing wingers needing a brand new house, the Edmonton Oilers despatched Milan Lucic to the Calgary Flames in change for James Neal. If nothing, it reveals that there are not any unmovable offers within the NHL. Mike Smith and Milan Lucic|Gerry Thomas/NHLI by way of Getty ImagesJust because the workweek was about to wrap up with almost nothing newsworthy happening, a giant bang came about in Alberta: the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers discovered a approach to transfer two seemingly unmovable contracts. On Friday, the Flames despatched James Neal to the Oilers in change for Milan Lucic and a conditional draft decide, with Edmonton retaining a portion of Lucic’s $6-million cap hit, and the commerce comes at a time when each gamers are exiting the worst seasons of their respective careers.
Introduced into Calgary final summer time on a five-year, $28.75-million pact and anticipated to offer some scoring punch to the top-six, Neal flopped in his lone season with the Flames. In 63 video games, he managed simply seven targets – the primary time in his profession he failed to attain not less than 20 in a marketing campaign – and completed with 19 factors, all of the whereas averaging a career-low 14:57 in ice time. Granted, Neal did miss a stretch of time as a consequence of harm through the common season, but it surely was a disastrous season for the 31-year-old regardless of skating on a workforce that completed atop the Western Convention.
Assuming the Oilers are assured sufficient that final season was nothing greater than a blip and the veteran can regain his type, Neal does, nevertheless, turn into a main candidate to play alongside in Edmonton’s high six, fairly probably alongside one or each of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. And let’s be real looking: even with Neal’s struggles in Calgary, he immediately turns into the most suitable choice the Oilers have as a top-six winger. Not solely is Neal a giant, 6-foot-Three, 212-pound presence who can convey the bodily edge, he’s Edmonton’s solely confirmed veteran top-six choice, he has extra offensive upside than Lucic and his 20-goal pedigree rockets him up the depth chart.
Like Neal, Lucic, 31, is coming off of a dreadful season, his six targets and 20 factors marking the third consecutive marketing campaign through which he’s seen a downturn in manufacturing. After starting his time in Edmonton – and the regrettable seven-year, $42-million pact he signed in July 2016 – with a good 23-goal, 50-point effort, Lucic took a step again in 2017-18, producing solely 10 targets and 34 factors, and adopted that up with this previous season’s poor output.
Given how his sport has trended downwards over the previous few seasons, it’s unlikely we see a return to type. That mentioned, Lucic is now in a scenario the place he’s on a contending workforce, and the Flames may have the chance to bury him on the third line with out feeling as cap-strapped because the Oilers had been by the deal. Taking part in with barely much less stress given the retained wage, Lucic could possibly be a good bottom-six slot in Calgary.
The transfer additionally marks one of many first huge offers by Oilers GM Ken Holland, and it sees the brand new workforce architect rid himself of one of the vital burdensome offers from the Peter Chiarelli period. And if nothing else, this serves as a very good change of surroundings for 2 veteran wingers who had been in dire want of a brand new alternative within the wake of horrible seasons.
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Tags: calgary flames, edmonton oilers, nhlConnect: In regards to the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.

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