The Pittsburgh Penguins have traded winger James Neal to Nashville for winger Patric Hornqvist and center Nick Spaling.
Hornqvist has 106 goals and 110 assists in 363 career games. In 24 playoff games, he has 3 goals and 5 assist for 8 points. Spaling has 40 goals and 44 assists for 84 points in 297 games. He also has 2 goals and 7 assists in 28 playoff games.
Neal had just finished the 2nd year of a six-year, $30 million deal ($5 mil. cap hit). Rumors had been abound about him requesting a trade and being on the trade block due to his often reckless behavior and attitude.
The 27-year-old Hornqvist will be entering the 2nd year of a five-year deal worth $21.25 mil. ($4.25 mil cap hit). Meanwhile, 25-year-old Spaling just finished a one-year deal worth $1.5 million and is an upcoming restricted free agent.
While this may look like a temporary cap relief move, the final result will depend on Spaling’s contract and what the Penguins do with him. The Pens appear to give away some goal-scoring ability and lose out offensively, but the annually 20-30 goals that Hornqvist scores could easily be boosted based on who he plays with.
In the end, the Predators probably win this deal on the ice, but the intangibles even it out a bit for Pittsburgh.
More thoughts and analysis to come.