After months of speculation, Milan Lucic has finally waved his no-move clause, opening the door to a trade which will send him from the Edmonton Oilers to the Calgary Flames. The deal between the two sides will send James Neal across Alberta to Edmonton.
Neal signed a five-year deal with the Calgary Flames in July of last year, but failed to meet expectations, coming over from the Nashville Predators. Neal, 31, struggled with the stick this season, posting only seven goals and adding 12 assists, making for 19 points in 63 games played. It was his lowest point total in the NHL, not including a 20 game season back in 2010 in which the native of Whitby, Ontario recorded just six points (one goal and five assists).
Lucic, on the other hand, has been on the block for quite some time now. His $6 million annual average value has been a sore spot as of late for the Oilers given his lack of production over the past two seasons, potentially connected to the change in leadership.
Neal has an annual average value of $5.75 per season which is not much less then that of Lucic, however, the trade gives both veterans a much needed change of scenery. Before this past season, Neal had a 44 point season with the Vegas Golden Knights and is currently two seasons removed from a 58 point season with the Predators in Nashville. Playing alongside a star like Connor McDavid or Leon Draisatl, Neal will be given every opportunity to bounce back while Lucic will get a much needed change of scenery. It will also give the veteran winger the chance to prove himself once again with the Calgary Flames.
As reported by Eric Francis and later confirmed by Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, in the deal, the Oilers will retain some salary and will send the Flames a conditional draft pick. While the pick is for 2020, a club announcement has since been made to officially confirm the transaction. Both Lucic as well as James Neal have four years remaining on their contracts respectively and are entering a crucial point come this season as they have a chance to prove what they have left in the tank.