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From the Point Too

Penguins Ink James Neal to Six-Year Contract Extension

One of the biggest headaches that loomed on the horizon for Penguins’ General Manager Ray Shero was getting James Neal extended before he hit estricted free agency. Some thought that it was going to be easier said than done, possibly even a tough negotiation. You could hear the telltale sound of a cash register’s “cha ching” with each and every one of the 30-goals that Neal has scored thus far on the season.

Shero, as he always does, clearly had the ball rolling on a plan that would lock his sniper up long term, as the team announced that Neal had agreed to a six-year contract extension this morning. The best thing about the deal is that it works out to a cap friendly $5-million per season, which when compared to the likes of some exorbitant contracts around the league, is a steal for a guy who is capable of scoring 40-goals each each year and is still just 24-years-old.

Neal has been deadly from the face-off dots in this season and has developed unbelievable chemistry with Evgeni Malkin, who is leading the NHL is scoring to this point in the season. He has an amazing release on a wrist shot that seems to catch goaltenders off guard more times than not. He has set career highs in goals (30), points (56), power-play goals (13) and shots on goal (242) and those totals all grow by the game.

Ray Shero talked with Sam Kasan of the Penguins official website and had this to say via their http://twitter.com/pensinsidescoop twitter account:

#

Pens GM Shero: As we’ve gotten to know Neal over past year, he really fits w our group, really difficult to find players like this -SK

#

Pens GM Shero: Neal has size, uncanny release, heavy shot, goes to net hard, can skate. Lot to like even beyond the 30 goals -SK

Shero’s work is far from over as both Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal are looking at contract extensions this season, but getting Neal locked up is a huge step towards keeping the band together.

More later…

James Neal and the Penguins take on the Buffalo Sabres at 12:30pm as part of Hockey Day in America.

Filed in: Pittsburgh Penguins, | From the Point Too | Permalink
 

Comments

Evilpens's avatar

it’s beginning to look to me Like Staal is the odd man out unless God Forbid Sid retires.

You can’t keep trading for Random wingers who are UFA’s & very little chance of re-signing. It is time to stop trying to catch lightning in a bottle every trade deadline

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 12:31 PM ET

Moq's avatar

An average salary of $5M to Neal was as expected. It causes some salary structure problem. The seriousness of the problem depends on the next CBA.

I don’t see any reason to get rid of Staal or naming him the odd man out. With Malkin, Neal, Kunitz, Staal and (hopefully) Crosby, we have more than enough goal scoring threats compared to any other team in the league while maintaining an unequalled strength down the middle. But I’m sure the “scoring winger” deficit paradigm will continue among certain people until we ice a team with nothing but wingers.

The odd man out from my perspective is Paul Martin due to improved play by Niskanen, and the development of Despres. That’ll maintain a healthy salary structure and flexibility. I see no problem with sensible acquisitions at the deadline, eg. taking an expiring contract for a low pick. Especially if we’re talking complementary pieces to an established core.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 02/19/12 at 01:14 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Niskanen will be gone in the summer

Soooo You think SulliTURD & Dupuis are fine as 2nd Line W’s ? SulliTURD is a Ghost even strength & although I will never fault Dupes effort his Offensive ability & Hands are Just BAD


& there are No W’s within 3 years of the Burgh

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 02:10 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

also Please STOP with the Trade Martin BS that is for the Staal Bunnies & Staal Bots to use as cover for their 3rd Line C getting 4 mill a year. Martin right now with how he is playing is damn near untradeable he is the jack of all trades & master of none.

If he gets back to playing the way he did last season fine & dandy, But the Shero & Botteril signed Z & Martin & they are essentially the same player.

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 02:18 PM ET

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Posted by Moq from Denmark on 02/19/12 at 11:14 AM ET

I honestly do not see any way the team keeps Niskanen after this season.  Martin has a limited NTC, so any move will likely be in the offseason, but I can’t see him wanting to go to a team with a ton of cap space and I don’t think the Pens would want to trade him to someone in the conference.  With all the defensive prospects, it does not make sense to overpay for Niskanen unless you get rid of Michalek or Martin.

As far as the Staal/Crosby extensions, you try to sign Staal as soon as you can next season.  Crosby’s extension will depend on whether he even plays this or next year.  If he does and returns to the same level he was, then it’s a no brainer.  If he doesn’t return or returns less than stellar, then he has to understand the Pens/Shero’s concerns and take less.

I also have no problems with the Pens picking up low wage, older players for a year and then turning them over.  Shero has been active as possible in trading the surplus of dmen for winger needs and I don’t see why that can’t continue.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 02/19/12 at 02:35 PM ET

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Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 12:18 PM ET

Your “3rd line center” currently ranks 39th among centers in points per game.  Not too shabby.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 02/19/12 at 02:38 PM ET

Moq's avatar

No, I don’t think Niskanen is a certain goner next season. It depends on a lot of factors from trades to contract negotiations. At his price, I see very few better alternatives. Whether it’s from the farm or the free market. But you never know what will materialize.

Sullivan didn’t require anything but salary, and he’ll be off the books after this season. It was a cheap gamble, and compared to Kennedy, Sullivan has been fantastic. Every team in the league add temporary pieces. Some pan out, some don’t. Welcome to the world of hockey, Evilpens. We can agree on the fact that we shouldn’t throw too many picks after rentals, but you can’t have a stagnant unchanging roster in a cap world.

Martin is a tough sell, and slightly less so is Michalek, but nothing is impossible. Even if they both stay, there’ll be options - in the CBA and otherwise - to avoid trading important pieces like Staal. Suggesting that we trade Staal, however, shows a completely ignorance of constructing a hockey team in particular, and hockey in general.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 02/19/12 at 02:54 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

One day you children will understand that with Martin playing absolutely horrifically & making 5 MILL you are going to get nothing But a Bloated Salary just as badly playing player in return.

& the thing that trumps it all is he has a Limited NMC END OF STORY


& for the other genius saying Staal is the 39th ranked C He has Been when playing 1st or @nd Line C except for the 8 games Sid PLAYED. when Sid & Geno are Healthy Staal is ______________ fill in blank & sorry but here’s your lovely parting gift

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 05:26 PM ET

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Martin’s an easy guy to trade in an offseason. You won’t get anything back, but there are always teams in need of transition D, even bad ones making $5 mil.

Michalek? Shot-blocking PK guys with tunnel-vision can usually be had for a lot less than $4.5. If there were a CBA amnesty, he’s the guy I think you buy out.

Posted by larry from pitt on 02/19/12 at 05:43 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

UMMM right Beavis ! keep dreaming Staal-Bot & Z makes 4 Mill

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 06:00 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

so someone is going to take a 5 MILL a year Nuclear waste Carrying train-wreck
for NOTHING ? hahahahahaha

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 06:01 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Really pumped about the Neal signing.  Him and Malkin have tons of chemistry.  This could end up being the best scoring duo in the NHL for the next few years.  Very exciting.

According to CapGeek, the Pens have 18 players signed for next season and $4.7 million (give or take).  So, I don’t think Niskanen leaving is a sure thing.

Paul Martin just isn’t working out in Pittsburgh.  His playing time has gone down the past 5 games or so..to where he isn’t even playing 20 minutes.  More times than not, he’s playing on the 3rd pair, too.  They might not be able to unload him before or at the deadline, but by next season…he’s gone.  Especially with Depres knocking on the door.  If Martin goes, that’s $5m extra they have to play with cap-wise and Niskanen is more than likely back.  Looking at how Letang is making an EXTREMELY manageable $3.5m, I can’t imagine Niskanen getting more than $2.5m per year or so.

And I have no idea what you have against Jordan Staal, EP.  Did he steal your girlfriend or something?  He’s a 20-25 goal scorer, one of the best defensive forwards in the league and he makes $4m.  Who would you trade him for?  What player can bring what he brings to the table for the money he makes?  I’m gonna go ahead and guess that…I’d rather have Jordan Staal than anyone you can come up with.  To trade Staal for an inferior player just because that player has a “W” by his name instead of a “C” is ludicrous, silly and would be one of the dumbest moves a GM could ever make.

I’m more worried about their 5th defenseman making $5m dollars than I am a penalty-killing 20-25 goal scorer making $4.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 02/19/12 at 06:09 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Of course you are Staal-Bot ! you are NOT Trading Martin ! 2nd of all I don’t (HATE) Staal the New cool word for anything a person disagrees with ! Are the Pens better with Staal as a 3rd Line C making 4 MILL & SulliTURD & Dupuis as 2nd W"s or Dustin Jeffrey as a 3rd Line C & legit W’s as 2 line W’s


Staal is the best 3rd Line C in the League but IF Sid is Healthy he is a 3rd Line C

& again Bennet & Kuhnhackl are at the bare minimum 2 seasons away from Pgh. & most likely 3

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 06:17 PM ET

Moq's avatar

Martin can stipulate a maximum of eight teams that he’d avoid a trade to (so can Michalek). That’s a reasonably “friendly” NMC.

Staal is a 20+ goal scorer in a full NHL season as a third line center. This year it’s 19 goals in 39 games in a larger role. That’s more than decent numbers. Well worth his salary. Trading him for a winger with similar production is unlikely to save dollars, and you would lose a lot of versatility in the process. Granted, a concern could be the upcoming contract for Staal.

But there’s potential salary rollback and buyout options in the next CBA to complicate things further. Regardless, from a talent viewpoint, the Penguins are in good shape.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 02/19/12 at 06:18 PM ET

Avatar

“so someone is going to take a 5 MILL a year Nuclear waste Carrying train-wreck
for NOTHING ? hahahahahaha “

Yep

http://tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=1568

Better to take a flyer on a $5 mil Paul Martin than to try and sign somebody. You might end up paying twice as much for the same sort of crap.

http://capgeek.com/leaders.php?type=SALARY

Martin at $5 looks a whole lot more attractive than Ehrhoff at $10.

So, considering every team needs at least 3 of these, and there aren’t 90 defensemen in this league that transition better than Martin (even now), you will never ever ever not be able to find a taker for a Paul Martin or a Tomas Kaberle at $5 million.

Don’t know why this should be such a surprise, really. Philadelphia just traded actual assets for the ghost of Pavel Kubina—a fat, shot transition D who makes just a million less than Martin.

Posted by larry from pitt on 02/19/12 at 06:19 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Don’t know why this should be such a surprise, really. Philadelphia just traded actual assets for the ghost of Pavel Kubina—a fat, shot transition D who makes just a million less than Martin. ] Kubina’s contract is expiring Martin has 3 More Years @5 MILL


Martin at $5 looks a whole lot more attractive than Ehrhoff at $10.BUT Buffalo isn’t trying or Fans are not wanting to trade him. Nice TRY.But failure none the less

“@Dejan_Kovacevic: I just asked Bylsma about maybe benching Martin. Replied he thought minus-3 wasn’t indicative, that Martin played “one of his better does that sound like someone who is being traded anytime soon

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 06:33 PM ET

Avatar

I didn’t say anything about Buffalo wanting to trade Ehrhoff. Nor did I say Bylsma wanted Martin traded.

What I said was
-every team needs 3 transition D
-there are not 90 cheaper, better skaters with that specialty than Paul Martin
-acquiring one through free agency now costs almost double what Martin makes, unless you find someone who’s off everyone’s radar like White

Given these three facts, the Penguins would have little difficulty finding a taker, should they decide to move him, which, as of now, they have, apparently, not decided.

Posted by larry from pitt on 02/19/12 at 06:48 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

OK Beavis Keep Drinking the Kool-Aid

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 06:53 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Plus if you actually Knew hockey Ehrhoff has a cannon of a shot & & is very good on the Point for a PP Martin has a shot that would have trouble breaking glass, Gets outmuscled in front of the net, Today by Brad Boyes not exactly the most physical player in the league to put it nicely

He is the jack of all trades & master of none. scouts are unfortunately not as DUMB as you & Flash & other fans they see how bad he is & how he excels at NOTHING & makes 5 MILL for 3 more years

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 06:57 PM ET

Moq's avatar

“@Dejan_Kovacevic: I just asked Bylsma about maybe benching Martin. Replied he thought minus-3 wasn’t indicative, that Martin played “one of his better does that sound like someone who is being traded anytime soon

That argument suffers from at least three flaws:

1) Bylsma isn’t the GM.
2) Bylsma is unlikely to reveal the inner workings of the organizational decision-making, even if he was a GM.
3) Paul Martin doesn’t have to be traded tomorrow or at the deadline.

In fact, Martin doesn’t even have to be traded in the off-season. However, it would be nice from the viewpoint of financial flexibility, and probably beneficial for both parties.

But you can’t understand anything more complicated than Staal and wingers, Evilpens, so it’s a Sisyphus effort trying to turn this into a hockey discussion.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 02/19/12 at 06:58 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Moq you are truly retarded ! Now you have gone Bylsma isn’t the GM & shit Scouts from other teams see how bad he is & they are NOT trading for a Guy with a 5 MILL cap hit with a new CBA on the Horizon & don’t have ANY clue what the salary cap ceiling or Floor is going to look like

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 07:20 PM ET

Avatar

He is the jack of all trades & master of none.

Not sure you know what this means.  Is he a player who is good at many skills without being great at any one of them or is he a “Nuclear waste Carrying train-wreck”?

FYI, those are VERY different things.

Posted by Garth on 02/19/12 at 07:24 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

umm when Martin is on his game he is the Jack of all trades & master of none & this season he is the nuclear waste carrying train wreck Now back to circle jerking about the AMWings

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 07:29 PM ET

Avatar

So, what you’re saying is if Martin’s shot was better and he had 3 or 4 more assists he would be a $10 million asset. Without these things he’s an albatross no team would take at $5.

Well, this is a really stupid way pricing players and not at all how people managing these assets think.

I’ll say it again and I don’t know how I could be clearer.

There are 90+ permanent positions in the NHL for D who can perform a particular duty, which is to transition. You can’t win without guys who perform this function, either. There are not 90 defensemen who can do this well. There are certainly not 90 who can do this at least passably at a cheaper pricetag than Martin.

This is why some organization somewhere will always overlook other problems in these players’ games or choke down a too-high pricetag to get them in the lineup. There’s both necessity and scarcity in what Martin does, even if he does it badly these days. Transition D are the left-handed starting pitchers of hockey. If they can pass a physical, someone’s always going to take a flyer on them, since there just aren’t enough of them to go around.

This is why Whitney and Gilbert make so damn much in Edmonton. Why Montreal lugged around Brisebois for all those years at about $4 million per (and if you think Martin makes a lot of mistakes, you’ve never seen that guy). Why Philadelphia would trade a 2nd round pick for a fat, old $4million guy with 10 points. Why Boston would trade a 1st for the player who used to be Tomas Kaberle. Why Montreal would eat his contract this year. Why Phoenix would happily take on Roszival’s bad contract.

If Pittsburgh decided to move Martin, they would get offers immediately. They’re not going to like the return, I don’t think, but if all they wanted was to dump the contract, they’d get multiple offers quickly.

Posted by larry from pitt on 02/19/12 at 07:35 PM ET

Avatar

umm when Martin is on his game he is the Jack of all trades & master of none & this season he is the nuclear waste carrying train wreck

Sure, let’s all pretend that’s what you meant.

Posted by Garth on 02/19/12 at 07:40 PM ET

Avatar

And even pretending that’s what you meant, have you ever heard of an off year?  Lots of teams will make trades for people who are good but are not performing to expectations one year on the hopes that it is a fluke or that he can regain his game with a change of scenery.

Is he currently overpaid?  Sure he is but so, in your opinion, is Jordan Staal and you can bet that if he was put on the market there would be GMs falling over themselves to get him on their teams.

Posted by Garth on 02/19/12 at 07:46 PM ET

Moq's avatar

Now you have gone Bylsma isn’t the GM & shit Scouts from other teams see how bad he is & they are NOT trading for a Guy with a 5 MILL cap hit with a new CBA on the Horizon & don’t have ANY clue what the salary cap ceiling or Floor is going to look like

1) You quoted the tweet while pretending it was an argument, not me. I merely pointed out that it wasn’t an argument pertinent to this discussion.

2) I’ve mentioned the uncertainty of the new CBA several times above and how it may or may not dictate what the Penguins do. It’s rather obvious that few teams would trade for Martin before a new CBA. No one claimed otherwise.

If shit scouts recognize that Martin is crap, then we’d better hope for girl scouts… and cookies.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 02/19/12 at 07:46 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Garth go back to the AMWings OK

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 07:55 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

The odd man out from my perspective is Paul Martin due to improved play by Niskanen, and the development of Despres. That’ll maintain a healthy salary structure and flexibility. I see no problem with sensible acquisitions at the deadline, eg. taking an expiring contract for a low pick. Especially if we’re talking complementary pieces to an established core.


Martin is a tough sell, and slightly less so is Michalek, but nothing is impossible. Even if they both stay, there’ll be options - in the CBA and otherwise - to avoid trading important pieces like Staal. Suggesting that we trade Staal, however, shows a completely ignorance of constructing a hockey team in particular, and hockey in general.

In fact, Martin doesn’t even have to be traded in the off-season. However, it would be nice from the viewpoint of financial flexibility, and probably beneficial for both parties.

Moq those are your Quotes are they not ?

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 07:58 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Yeah, let’s get the Red Wings fans out of here so this guy can go back to calling his own fanbase retarded.

This is trolling.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/19/12 at 08:04 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

OH and another AMWings fan

Posted by Evilpens on 02/19/12 at 08:17 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

I’m not even sure what a Staal-bot would be.  A robot that looks like Jordan Staal that can score 25 goals every year and play good defense at the forward position while some hack that can’t spell or type coherent sentences goes on a several-year tirade about how he makes too much money for a THIRD LINE CENTER even though he scores and plays good defensive hockey?  That’s the only thing I can come up with.

Anyway, EP…how much is Kaberle making ($4.25m)?  How many years are left on his contract (3)?  He’s playing pretty well too, isn’t he (2 goals, 25 points, -16)?  Nobody is going to trade for a guy like him with his salary and years left…

Waaaaaaaaait a minute.

Martin isn’t impossible to trade.  He has a history of being a good, solid defenseman.  It’s just not working out in Pittsburgh - at least not at this particular moment.  These things happen.  It doesn’t make him un-tradeable.  It doesn’t mean he’ll refuse to waive his limited NTC.  Teams need guys like him all the time.  And, if you look at one of your favorite whipping boys of Penguins past, Alex Goligoski’s $4.25m per year makes Martin’s contract look pretty reasonable as it comes to proven guys.

Maybe I’m wrong.  I’m not saying I know everything.  I see what’s going on and make the conclusions based on that.  I’m aware of Martin’s status and his contract and all of that.  I just see Letang/Orpik/Michalek/Niskanen being the top-4 right now and Martin is the odd man out.  If that’s the case and stays the case, Martin is gone.  Like Moq said, they probably won’t get exactly what they want back for him…but they’ll be able to dumb the majority of his salary in the worst case scenario.

And why the disdain (not “hate” since you don’t like that word…even though I didn’t use it) for Sullivan?  He’s been really good on the PP.  That’s something the Pens needed to improve and bringing him in helped a good bit.  Not saying he’s the sole reason for it…but, he’s been a big help at the point.  That’s worth the $1.5m he’s making right there.  At least, I think so.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 02/19/12 at 10:03 PM ET

Moq's avatar

Moq those are your Quotes are they not ?

Yes, they are. Notice the difference between “tough sell” (right now) and “nuclear waste carrying train wreck”.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 02/19/12 at 10:15 PM ET

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