NHL Trade: Penguins Trade James Neal To Predators

The Pittsburgh Penguins traded winger James Neal to the Nashville Predators for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

The 26-year old Neal was drafted 33rd overall in the 2nd round by the Stars. Neal carries a $5 million cap hit and salary for the next four seasons.

The 26-year old Hornqvist was drafted 230th overall in the 7th round of the 2005 draft by the Predators. He carries a $4.25 million salary cap hit for the next four years. His salary next season will be $4 million, followed by $4.25 million, $4.75 million and $4.75 million.

The 25-year old Spaling was drafted 58th overall in the 2nd round of the 2007 draft. Spaling is a pending RFA who is coming off a one-year deal at $1.5 million.

What do you think of this trade? A mistake by Pittsburgh?

Click for stats

James Neal

Patric Hornqvist

Nick Spaling


  1. Alexander

    June 27, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    I can’t believe that the Nashvilles first round pick wasn’t included! If I where Pittsburgh I would wanted Smith, Spaling and the first round pick.

    The hire of Rutherford is a fucking joke.

  2. Chris

    June 27, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Was Rutherford hired solely to obliterate any future chance of the pens winning the cup? Terrible trade! We traded for one player who has less point production and another who is a UFA!!!

  3. Nate

    June 27, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    It is a joke that their first round pick was not included. Although you cant blame this entire trade on Rutherford because he has to talk to the CEO. Terrible trade from a great goal scorer even if its only because of Malkin. Didnt even save any money. And this Spalding guy cant replace sutter if that is the plan

  4. Vittorio

    June 27, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    If Rutherford calls this a trade then I can’t wait to see what he calls a FA signing. This is his way of destroying this teams chances. They needed Neal more than those 2 pieces of crap. This team had nearly 16Mil under the cap and I’m supposed to believe you can’t fix some holes with that money. It was bad the whole way around.

  5. Spencer

    June 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    It’s actually kind of funny that you guys don’t understand the difference between a UFA and RFA.

  6. Nick

    June 27, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Bit of a knee-jerk reaction eh Vittorio? First of all these players are far from pieces of crap, Hornqvist is a smart 25+ goal scorer, it will be interesting to see what he can do with Malkin. Spaling is a nice depth piece who they can sign for probably around the same hit he had last year. Also that 16 mil was for 11 players so it would be pretty hard to fix holes. God please know what you are saying before you foam at the mouth over things.

  7. Spencer

    June 27, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Thank You nick. Well said. Hornqvist will be playing with Sid or Geno. He will most likely score more goals now with what’s around him

  8. Hankbemis

    June 27, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    I don’t think it’s a bad trade by Pitt. Especially when Neal’s productivity is cut in half on the preds. Neal also lacks discipline.

  9. GaryMagic

    June 27, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Bad on the part of Nashville, unless they plan on being super aggressive in FA. Maybe Neal can help bring in Niskanen? But then again, with Weber, Jones, Josi, Del Zotto and Ellis, they don’t need him. Neal is not THE guy on any team. At least you don’t want him to be. It’s why he flourished in Pit, cause he had Sid and Geno around him

  10. Todd

    June 27, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    I don’t like this trade. Neal was a good compliment to Malkin. The possibility of a Bennett/Malkin/Neal line looked pretty good to me. However as much as I liked Neal, he did take some pretty bad penalties at bad times and his production would drop if Geno was out of the lineup. But for the money saved, they would have been better to keep him as see how this season went under new leadership behind the bench.

  11. Mike

    June 27, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    All of these comments trashing the trade are way off base. 1) Rutherford has minimal say in trades. It has to be approved by everyone 2) The year before Neal came to the Pens he had 27 goals/ 55 Points. Hornqvist 22 goals / 53 points las season. 3) Neal can’t create anything on his own and doesn’t go to the hard areas of the ice. He averages almost .5 less points per game without Malkin. If Nashville doesn’t sign a playmaking center, he will be in the 50 – 60 point range. 4) Hornqvist isn’t afraid to go to the net and score dirty goals while bringing a good locker room presence. 5) Neal has injury and suspension history.

    I like this trade. Spaling is what he is, bottom 6th depth. If his name isn’t Pyatt/Glass/Vitale, he’s an improvement. Look for another trade to free up space to bring Kulemin in to play with Malkin. Kunitz-Crosby-Bennet, Kulemin-Malkin-Hornqvist improves the team and allows Dupuis, Spaling and others to improve the bottom six.

  12. chrispy

    June 27, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Neal is a poor playoff performer. Hornquist could end up being under valued on the offensive side. Let’s see what his numbers jump up by playing with one of the league best players (Malkin). I think this was a smart move by Pittsburgh.

  13. Matt

    June 27, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Pittsburgh is getting a quality hard working goal scorer in Hornqvist. As alternate captain horny was the hardest working guy for Preds. I wish him well in his career and he will have a breakout year with Sid. Preds continue to be the farm team to the NHL. I’d take Hartnell and Hornqvist back in a minute.

  14. Vittorio

    June 27, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    It’s a bad trade the whole way through. If Hornqvist is that good why is it that only the Pens dealt for him? Malkin made Neal a 40 goal scorer. There is no way that hornqvist will produce. If Crosby didn’t want Iginla on his line then why would a curtain jerker. Yes I know that 16 mil can’t fill all the holes on the roster but I never said that. That money can fill 2-3 holes. They need scoring and depth. Plus you have Tocchet who preaches toughness and to get in front of the net and you want Hornqvist over Neal. Rutherford is the GM he made the trade and all his cronies backed him up on the deal. Give Malkin and Crosby help not hinder them by giving them garbage and that is exactly what Hornqvist is. He is not top 6 on any contending team and I dare anybody to say otherwise. You need wingers for Crosby and Malkin not guys who can’t do anything. Bennet is always hurt and you people want Kulemin for 1 reason: HE’S RUSSIAN and nothing else. Duper is way way better than kulemin and that is fact and not an opinion. With the 16 mil they had your telling me you can’t find 2-3 guys to fill out some bottom six roles that is impossible. Where is the help for Crosby and Malkin?

  15. Mike

    June 27, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Vittorio – you win. That was the most off base comment I’ve read on here. I love everything that you stated as facts.

    1) Rutherford is running the show and everyone is his cronnies? How do you figure? They brought him in for 2 years to bridge Bortelli/Guerin. He knows it, the ownership knows it, everyone knows it. David Morehouse has much more say the Rutherford ever will.

    2) No one else wanted to trade for Hornqvist? How do you know this? Facts please, not your own thoughts/feelings.

    3) Neal is a tougher player that will go to the net/dirty areas and Hornqvist won’t? Have you ever watched Neal play? He plays in the top slot only and waits for Malkin to feed him. That’s all he does.

    4) There is no way Hornqvist can produce playing with Malkin? Please provide facts how this can be true? The year before Neal came to the Pens, he had 27 goals and 55 points. Hornqvist had 22 goals and 53 points.

    5) He’s not a top 6 on a contending team and you dare anyone to say otherwise. Again, facts to support this…..

  16. Ryan

    June 27, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    I agree with Mike here on this one. Hornqvist should have a better year playing with an elite center. Better defensively than Neal and will play in front of the net. At first I was a little shocked at the trade but then I started looking at the stats. Hornqvist didn’t put up the numbers Neal did but he wasn’t playing with an elite center. Look at what Dupuis turned into after playing with Crosby. As for adding Spaling in to the deal it was just a depth move. They wont ask him to be a superstar or anything like that. Most people are all for the Penguins keeping Sutter around. Spaling had the same amount of goals last season as Sutter did.

  17. microsoft points

    June 28, 2014 at 1:12 am

    Malkin doesn’t need Neal. Neal needs Malkin

  18. TheLonelyislander

    June 28, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I think that Hörnqvist is underrated. I’m very exited to see him play with a good c-man! Because he has never done that before!

  19. Greg

    June 28, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Great trade! Neal was not only a terrible skater but he also took stupid penalties. He was injured most of last year and his production was awful. At times he looked like he didn’t care. He actually made Malkin attempt to pass the puck instead of shoot the puck. Malkin’s days of blind passes to nobody, which lead directly to odd man rushes for the other team, are hopefully over. It’s time for a winger to set up Malkin and not the other way around. A two winger for one deal works for me.

  20. Whiskey51

    June 28, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I think I read somewhere Neal had a NTC kicking in son and this was pretty much the chance to offload him or be stuck with him. We pick up a guy who is tenacious and plays whistle so to whistle and is disciplined. Also, a leader. Compared that to Neal who always taking dumb penalties that hurt the team. Hornqist also put up realitivily close numbers to Neals maybe shy by 5-10 goals per season but he was playing with weak Centers. Now playing with Malkin and his style is very similar to Kunitz so I’m looking forward to him getting to the net.

  21. Mike

    June 28, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Not getting some sort of pick is the only disappointing part of this trade. And, no, the Preds first round pick along with the players that came over from Nashville, is NOT realistic or fair value. Even a 4th round pick or so would have been nice (for a team that seemingly has 3-4 draft picks each year).

    I have no doubts that if he stays healthy, Hornqvist scores 30 with the line he plays on and PP time. He is exactly what the Pens need for the PP. A big body in front allows Crosby and Malkin to focus on shooting more and not just trying to make the perfect pass across the slot to the winger.

    Neal is a very good player but without a playmaking center, he is just an above average scoring winger. He is more talented with the puck than just shooting but when he doesn’t have that center, he tries doing too much and just can’t quite create on his own.

    The trade is as much about a change of culture than it is talent – that is what fans should take from this. You bring in a tough, talented player with discipline and a gritty depth player in exchange for a talented, finesse player who is undisciplined. I wish Neal success in Nashville but I have a hard time thinking they will get anything close to a 40 goal scorer in Neal again. The deal is pretty good for both sides but I actually like it more for Pittsburgh.

  22. Roger

    June 28, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Seems like a good deal for both sides. Preds get locker room cancer but that guy can snipe. BTW he wasn’t labelled Lazy for nothing!

  23. Vittorio

    June 28, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    My problem is why Neal? He wasn’t the only guy taking stupid penalties in the playoffs. You have an assistant coach in Tocchet who preaches toughness and grit and Rutherford is saying he thinks Neal can’t learn that in this new system. without Neal they lose more production than they gain in Hornqvist. You all have this assumption that he will produce more with Malkin than he did in Nashville well what happens if he doesn’t? You all look at one side of this trade but I’m looking at from both sides. What Happens if Hornqvist fails with Malkin then what happens? I get that this new staff wants more grit and that’s fine but why sacrifice scoring for that? You had enough money for at least 3-4 gritty guys for the bottom six and if most fans want the young guys to play more play them and go from there. Your top six had Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Kunitz, Duper and Bennet and with about 16 mil you don’t have to pay a 5-6 million guy when you have 3-5 bottom six guys who come on the cheap side with enough left over for the deadline. I don’t like the trade and I really believe that it will blow up in rutherfords face and he will have no to blame but himself. Go ahead and tell I’m wrong and all that other stuff I’m sticking with the notion of “it’s a bad trade”.

  24. lets go pens

    June 28, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Vittorio, you sir are a complete bafoon

  25. Vittorio

    June 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    How so people? I’m speaking as fan who is outraged by this dumb trade. The 2 guys they traded for Dime a Dozen in the league. Guys like James Neal are hard to find so tell me how I’m off base with this deal? You had a new coaching staff who would have fixed Neal’s undisciplined ways in the playoffs. For crying out loud they asked Matt Cooke to change his ways and look at how he performed after his attitude adjustment. Your telling me that James Neal’s play can’t be fixed and be more disciplined and become better than he was before. Even if the trade works out i’ll still say it was a bad deal.