The Calgary Flames have traded James Neal to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Milan Lucic. In what would have been a monster trade five years ago, now it’s just the opportunity for two players to get a new start
I think it’s pretty clear the Oilers won the trade. I’ll always have love for Lucic after winning the cup in 2011 for the Bruins, but the game is trending in the opposite direction of his game. James Neal scored under 20 goals (7g, 12a in 63 games) for the first time in his career last season. He’s the real deal James Neal, he is due for a bounce back year and if he somehow ends up on McDavid’s line then there is a good chance that bounce back will happen.
Lucic is coming off a season where he played in 79 games, scoring only 6 goals with 14 assists. Lucic hasn’t crossed the 20-goal plateau since 2016-17. He’s played in basically every game since 2017, almost two full seasons, and has only scored 16 goals.
It’s kind of crazy the Lucic is only 31 years old. It feels like he has been around the game for like 15 years. I think Lucic will be involved in the game of hockey for a long, long time. Whether he joins a hockey ops department somewhere or he goes into coaching, I think he’s a guy that wants to be around the game.But it’s time to start wondering when Looch is going to hang them up. Unfortunately, Calgary seems like the last stop on the NHL train if this doesn’t work out for the 2011 Cup Champ.