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James Neal Traded to Nashville for Hornqvist and Spaling

This year’s first mid-draft trade comes courtesy of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators. The Pens have sent right-winger James Neal to Nashville in exchange for centre Nick Spaling and winger Patric Hornqvist. News of the trade first broke after the Maple Leafs made their pick, in the 8th spot.

Neal, a notorious league rat, will be a huge help to the Preds. He will help out a lot on an offensively lacking team, as he can likely be counted on for at least 50 to 60 points. He scored 61 points in 2013/14, and is only two years removed from an 81 point season. It remains to be seen how he will handle playing without Pittsburgh’s superstars. Neal will also add some needed grit to the lineup. This move would indicate that the Predators are looking to return to the playoffs next year, especially with Pekka Rinne returning. To that point, Neal can be quite a helpful player during the post-season, despite some struggles this year.

Going Pittsburgh’s way are Hornqvist and Spaling. Both will also likely slot in quickly to the Penguins’ lineup. Hornqvist saw time on Nashville’s first line this past season, and, while he won’t get the same minutes he did there, he’ll be a good scoring winger for a team with strong centre depth. Hornqvist is also quite capable in his own end, and can thus help address a recurring issue in Pittsburgh. Spaling can play either at centre or on wing, and will be a good addition to the team’s depth. In four NHL seasons, he’s never gotten more than 32 points. However, he could fit in nicely with Pittsburgh’s third line.

As the first trade to be announced during the draft, this is a relatively big one. One has to hope there will be more deals announced throughout the evening. Last Word on Sports will keep you posted.


Don’t forget to check out our friends at Sports Injury Alert for the latest in NHL injuries.

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