April 30, 2019 | 11:35am ET
TheFourthPeriod.com

NEAL EXPERIMENT COULD LEAD TO WELCOMED TRADE

 
header_neal_1.jpg

James Neal, right wing

 

When James Neal signed his five-year, $28.75 million contract with the Calgary Flames last summer, the expectation was he’d line up on one of the club’s top-two lines and supply some extra fire-power up front.

That didn’t happen.

Instead, Neal never fit into head coach Bill Peters’ plan and was delegated to a bottom-six role. On the season, Neal registered seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points in 63 games, the lowest point totals of his career – it was the first season of his career he never scored 21 or more goals.

Flames GM Brad Treliving will explore the trade market on Neal this off-season, and sources tell TFP a move would be welcomed by the 31-year-old winger given the circumstances of this season.

Neal does not own any no-trade protection and can be moved to a deal in need of help up front.

Neal’s $5.75 million salary cap hit may be a slight concern for some teams, given this season’s stats, but league sources suggest some clubs would be willing to give him a mulligan, though would pay a high price to acquire him.

Several teams had interest in signing Neal last summer and could explore acquiring him via trade this off-season, including the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks.