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James Neal Trade Looking Good For Edmonton

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

We’re a long way from the vote tallying, but Ken Holland is the early leader for NHL executive of the year on the strength of his July 19 deal that brought James Neal to Edmonton — a swap for Milan Lucic that looks like it may have triggered a turnaround for the moribund Oilers franchise.

Holland was named Oilers general manager in May, successor to the fired Peter Chiarelli, after the Red Wings finalized the coronation of Steve Yzerman as the new mayor of Hockeytown. Two months later, Holland swapped ex-Bruin Lucic for Neal, whose hands inexplicably turned to stone during his one-season stay in Calgary after signing there following his year in Vegas (acquired there in the expansion draft).

Not an easy deal to make, for either side. Both veteran forwards carried pricey, long-term tickets. Worse was the accompanying stigma that their careers were somewhere between a standstill and a dead end. With Lucic appearing to be the greater liability of the two 30-somethings, Holland was forced to retain $3 million of the big winger’s deal (a $750,000 charge for each of the remaining four years on his $6 million-a-year contract).

continued plus more topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: james+neal

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Lucic is a legit enforcer for Calgary who apparently felt they needed one.
He went right after Kurtis MacDermaid when the latter hit him knee to knee and landed some pretty good punches late. MacDermaid is a huge pure enforcer who has pounded every other fighter I’ve seen. He looked after the fight like he hadn’t expected to be the one on the receiving end. If you want neutralize a guy like that and get him off the ice, Lucic comes in handy. Lucic also went after Zadorov on Colorado - a player Calgary had trouble with - really punishing Gaudreau in the past playoffs.

But Holland won this deal and deserves a lot of credit.
We were waiting to see if he had any tricks up his sleeve and could complete a meaningful trade, let alone one to move Edmonton beyond Lucic’s albatross of a buyout proof contract.

If Neal only has one or two productive seasons in Edmonton that’s more than was expected, but so far, so good. Much better contract to buyout if needed.

Whatever it is about Dave Tippett he seems to be getting more buy in on team structure. And Holland gave him lots of options to work with in the bottom half of the lineup.

It’s nice to see our old GM doing well in a tough spot, rather than the mutual sourness and frustration that was building between him and a fan base past ready for new leadership from the most credible and uniquely beloved candidate available.

Posted by lefty.30 on 10/12/19 at 08:31 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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