Milan Lucic was traded to the Calgary Flames by the Edmonton Oilers for James Neal, TSN reported Friday. If the Oilers were to buy out Neal next June during the buy out window, he would come at a cap hit of $1,916,667 for the next six seasons.
Beyond the change of scenery thing, Neal's contract would be much easier to buy out than Lucic's buyout-proof deal.
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Both players are 31 and past their primes. Prior to coming to Calgary, Neal had scored at least 20 goals in each of his 10 seasons in the league. Neal struggled in his first season with the Flames, recording just seven goals and 19 points in 63 games, while Lucic mustered only six goals and 20 points in 79 games with the Oilers.
Neal also failed to meet expectations last season, amassing seven goals and 19 points in his lone season with the Flames.
He has recently fallen out of favour with fans and pundits around the city for his lack of offensive production over the last two seasons while playing on a $6-million per season contract. Like Lucic, Neal has four more years left on his contract, but he has a smaller cap hit of $5.75 million. And if nothing else, this serves as a good change of scenery for two veteran wingers who were in dire need of a new opportunity in the wake of bad seasons.