Report: Flames sign James Neal ($5.75m, 5 years)

The Flames are continuing their aggressive offseason of change by adding one of the biggest names on the UFA market. Although not official yet, many are reporting that the Flames have signed UFA winger James Neal to a five-year, $5.75M contract.

There’s no official details on the contract just yet, but there doesn’t appear to be any indication of a no-move/no-trade clause being given out.

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The Flames looking at Neal made a lot of sense, as discussed in his UFA profile. Neal is coming off a 25-goal, 19-assist season with the Vegas Golden Knights. He has scored at least 21 goals in every season in the NHL, making his name as a consistent and effective winger throughout four different stops in his career. Neal has been a Stanley Cup runner-up the past two seasons, finishing just short with the Nashville Predators and the Vegas Golden Knights. He’ll turn 31 in September, but there doesn’t seem to be any hint of him slowing down just yet.

This signing leaves the team with about $12.8M in cap space with nine RFAs to deal with, including Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. You can probably expect a few more moves.


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  • SgtRoadBlock

    So how do we deal with Matt Next year and this we have under $13 million left to Cap with ( 9 Rfa to sign… two we just got from the Canes… you think BT would leave some cash open when the season starts for wiggle room…

  • T&A4Flames

    “You can probably expect a few more moves.”
    Yea, you think? That is getting to be a crowded team suddenly. And CGY’s much available cap space has all but disappeared. I’m not sure how all these RFA’s are going to get signed.

    • Styxx

      Great move by Tre. Term is the price of doing business with a proven top6 performer (would much rather have this deal than Kovie in LA).

      Was afraid Tre was done with the top6 and only tinkering with the bottom6 despite our need for more scoring. This solves that.

      Before this trade Flames offence was going to struggle to score 240-250 goals…about 11-16th place per last year (Flames scored 216 last year, 27th in the league). With this trade and the other moves we should be in the 260-270 range…about 5th-8th place.

      Bottom line: with this trade we can consider ourselves a cup contender again!

  • Zalapski

    Honestly, with his finish there’s probably at least 1 more 35 goal season in there if he plays with Jonny! I opened my phone expecting a maroon deal. This is better.

    Trade Stone to ditch some salary!

  • Mickey O

    This is the wrong deal, at the wrong time – even if Mike Smith turns into Patrick Roy overnight.

    There is another far more pressing need that has to be addressed, but that ship may have already sailed.

      • Raoul Duke

        Mickey wanted dearly to sign Reaves and punch more faces. Even though he did little to stop Tom Wilson and the rest of the Capitals from running the Knights’ show in the cup final.

        • Mickey O

          It seems that Treliving really wanted Reaves too, but bailed. McPhee got a bargain and matched the dollars offered by other teams with a shorter term. He likely would have gone higher too.

          What is plan B for an enforcer on the Flames now, because you do need one. Plan A was for more important than signing an ageing winger when this team has unknown goaltending and a young defensive core.

      • Mickey O

        Big picture, and someone’s actual worth to a Team. Treliving could have had the best at his craft and would not have to worry about toughness.

        Instead of hoping the new guy he brings in is tough enough.

    • SgtRoadBlock

      yep Tkachuk, Hanifin and Lindholm Hope they will ask for $3million each or less or we in Trouble next year, And we ALL know they will be getting more then that…

      • The Beej

        Yup. Pretty sure brouwers money is being saved for tkachuk.

        Not sure we need to free up much more salary for this year.

        If Lindholm Hanifin combine for about $9. That leaves about 4. Lazar on waivers brings us to about 5m. Janko Kulak and Mangi and Anderson (not sure if Tiberi’s cap number includes Mangi and Anderson) probably will fit. We need to squeeze a back up goalie in though.

        Well perhaps Stone gets dealt to Ottawa. That might help them with his Brothers negotiation.

        Might be a little tight but I think its doable without anything major happening.

      • freethe flames

        The sky is not falling. Let’s say Lindholm/Hanifin/Janko/Kulak/Rittich cost $12m some of the other contracts get buried in the AHL there will some cap space. If all of these guys are signed for more than 1 year and they all should be that leaves BT with over $11m the following year(plus buyouts, plus cap inflation) to sign Tkachuk, Bennett, and a goalie. So no the sky is not falling.

  • Zalapski

    They could package Bennet to move Brouwers contract completely and get a decent pick back and a middle pick back like a 2nd and 4th. And he’ll move Stone for middle round picks and or maybe trade someone like Frolik, some of those guys still have value here (Frolik, Bennett) but we’ll see!

    • Mickey O

      It is, “we have him on our team” euphoria taking hold.

      I actually like James Neal as well, just not this deal. Five years was going to be the least amount of term he was going to sign for.

      If Neal was somehow in Edmonton, everyone would be cracking up that Chiarelli paid too much for the guy.

    • Seabass

      This deal is very unlike Brouwer’s in that Neal has consistently scored and still scored 25 goals in only 71 games last year. He also did that starting the year with a just repaired broken hand that was much less than 100%. Finally, his underlying numbers are much better.

      I believe Stone plus Rittich still get moved to Ottawa. Frolik and contract are very tempting for other teams, so i think he’s dealt this summer. Still sign Shore. I still think Lehner will sign with The Flames. Brouwer’s buyout will be next year to sign Byng.


      Johnny – Monny – Byng/Neal
      Byng/Neal – Backlund – Lindholm
      Bennett – Janks – Ryan
      Mangi – Shore/Lazar – Brouwer/Czarnik/Foo/Lazar

      Gio – Brodie
      Hanifin – Hamonic
      Kulak – Anderson


  • imthedude63

    Great signing. The term is the cost of doing business. He is a proven Consistent scorer in the NHL . He could have that Iggy type consistency for the 5 years and keep popping 20 a year.

    Lots of bodies around and more moves must be on the horizon

    This move makes the Flames better. We have a legit top 6

    • Trevy

      I agree, guys like Neal are consistent true goal scorers, like Marleau. Numbers don’t lie. Great signing and I wouldn’t worry about the cap. Lots of options such as buying out Brouwer next season, trading Stone for a pick, Lazar’s contract comes off the books, or maybe Brodie gets traded next season as well to make room for another one of our rookie dmen. BT’s not stupid when it comes to cap numbers. If Tor can add Tavares knowing they have to still pay up for their other big 3, I think we’ll be fine

  • C Watson

    I see this as a deal that will bite the Flames where it hurts. Too much money on too long a term. Very easy to say trade Brodie, Stone and Frolik but where are the trading partners willing to take over those cap hits on a declining asset. I can see everybody being happy with Neal for a year or two but then what happens when father time kicks in. No room for the up and comers on this team. Get drafted by the Flames only to toil in obscurity.

      • SgtRoadBlock

        win the right way by doing the a rebuild the right way like the jets/ Leafs did.. we on r 3rd Coach, trade picks away for vets, then trade the vets away to sign older vets… let’s not even talk about how many diff Goaltender we has seen in the last 5 years…But sweet Xmas we got a new/old toy to cheer about, and the poor 9 rfa can rot or get blank hole deals….

    • Rockmorton65

      Name me one forward on the Heat who is being held off the big team because of a veteran. The reason for these trades/signings is that there’s no one in the system to do the job. Tre said as much in his press conference yesterday.

    • LannyMac

      It would appear your getting trashed for your comment Watson. Can the people that trashed Watson’s comment please leave your names. Reason being you will be the first ones that if Neal’s play doesn’t produce of the hop or is looking bad in a year two or three you will be the first ones to snap on the current GM for being so short sited. This is going to be a huge albatross very shortly. The current GM is learning on the job. This is something i have a bit of a problem with but I have said with a few of his blunders as long as he doesn’t make the same mistake twice I can live with it. Unlike Brouwer this will not reek in the first year but by the time this contract is at the half way mark you will all be wondering what in the hell we signed an over the hill vet in the first place. Same mistake twice thx Brad.

      • C Watson

        I have been repeating since the Dennis Wideman signing that trying to build a contender through free agency is a fools game. Too much money on too much term. For the first two years of Frolik’s time with the Flames, he looked to be the best of a bad lot. Even then as good as he was, I said he was being overpaid.
        I like Neal, I like him a lot but he is not going to be any better than he now is. I hope I have to eat my words but this is a huge overpay. You cannot win in this league paying the kind of money the Flames pay for their bottom six and for their bottom pairing. People can and will trash me all they like but facts speak for themselves.

  • Snitch

    I don’t know what people want on here. They want a top 6 RW, but they don’t want to pay for it. Last week on here it was trade for Kessel. Costs you more money and and assets. Yesterday they want Pat Maroon, who’s not near the player Neal is. They wanted JVR who coat a lot more.

    I don’t get it. What is it you really want. This is a free agent deal for a top 6 RW. Makes our team waaaay better. And no we aren’t going to let Tkachuk walk next year because we can’t afford him (get a grip people).
    We now have a few extra bodies who can be moved and maybe gain a few assets along the way.
    Welcome James Neal! Great signing here!

    • Trevy

      Thanks Snitch, you nailed it. People on here will never be happy and will criticize virtually any signing somehow. GM’s have to do what they have to do to make their team better. I personally love the fact that Treliving is not afraid to take a risk. Only one team can win the Cup every year. I’d rather have a GM try and fail the odd time than do nothing and be stuck with a mediocre team year after year

    • Roger the Shrubber

      This 100%. I love this signing. Obviously I’m not in love with the term, but the Flames have a goal scorer for the top line now. He also brings a bit of moxie, which I like as well.

      And for those worried about Tkachuk, give your head a shake. Kid is going to be the captain one day.

    • cberg

      You have to watch who is saying what. There are the regulars, the sporadic and then the trolls. Between all three groups you’ll get a wide variety of views on any issue. Personally, I believe signing Neal is a great coup! If we could get Maroon as a FA, or say Kassian for Brouwer we’d be near complete. Still only July 2nd. Lots of summer to go.

      • SgtRoadBlock

        how dare a fan point out the team has a weak locker room last year… then boom the Deer get trade like we said 9 weeks ago should of happen , but we must be trolls.. unless we say it a Cup year run every year right ??

    • imthedude63

      Boom … right on the mark. A proven consistent NHL goal scorer. What other goal scoring RFA’s would the C of Red been excited to see signed… Stasney, Tavares? The way these guys train now he could continue to keep those 20 goal years coming throughout the term. Now I’m excited as we have a legit top 6

  • slapshot444

    Is the money a bit high, yup, is the term a bit long, yup, that’s the price to buy a UFA’S in todays NHL. Look at the Leafs. 11 m per year for a single player and every one is ready for the parade. He’s a great fit on our top line, speed, size and skill playing with Johnny and Mony he’s likely to have a stellar year. This addition alone probably gives us many more wins than if we had kept Ferny.

  • Scruffy Fish

    Like the player , don’t mind the $, hate the term. Something else brewing as getting crowded with 1 way players. But, that being said, are we now in an erra where 31 is over the hill? It was bad when players were paid for past performance rather than potential. But pendulum swings…. Guess Versteeg and Stajan are out eh?

    • freethe flames

      31/32 sure seems to be the number; but that depends on whether a guy can play. Many guys do hit the wall at that age but not all. Here’s hoping he has a little more in the tank. Like you I don’t like the term.

    • snotss

      don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out..bye versteeg and finally stajan your time has finally come to a end…maybe stajan can move up in to the front office

  • Pete_R

    I nearly choked on my breakfast sandwich when I read this.

    I can’t see this happening unless they plan on moving some more bodies out. Treliving is starting to remind me a Bergevin.

  • Zalapski

    James Neal is a better version of what Ferland was last year. He is a little less physical but a more consistent scorer. He has played well with good players before as well. I hope they run him out on the first PP, and with Ward and offensive depth the flames now have, I’m assuming Brouwer will never see a second of PP time again. First PP should be Jonny, MT, Monny, Gio and Neal/Lindholm if you want a RH there.

  • zachg

    To all those complainers,we just signed the best rw FA available.we have a legit top 6, proven top line winger and a chance to make some noise. Yeah term is a bit long but goddamn , if we have a chance for a cup let’s do it!! ” Mony to Neil to Johnny he ……..

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Neal is absolutely a legit top 6 forward, but do the Flames have two legit scoring lines with the addition of Neal? Maybe or maybe not, but they are a lot closer to having those two coveted lines this morning than they were at this time yesterday, so this signing looks pretty sweet from where I sit.

  • WidemansAnger

    I am pumped about all these new players! This is a new team and will be a new experience this year, excited about the potential… BT wants to win and not afraid to make decisions, love the acquisitions now let’s play some hockey!!!

  • brodiegio4life

    Term is a little high, but he’s been one of the most consistent wingers in the league and as long as he can keep it up for 2-3 years I think this deal will be alright. Hope this means brouwer and lazar are out.

    • SgtRoadBlock

      so where Brouwer, Lazer and Hathway? just place them waivers… sorry don’t seeing Manggy making this team now or any other kid too.
      Only way this work is a trade or $Dump or buy out…
      9 Rfc still to sign good luck BT you will have a Huge camp for the China trip and back pre season games.

    • Styxx

      I would pencil in Janko as the 3C ….17 goals as a rookie mostly with Hathaway on his wing speaks to his upside. Another look (there are so many) might be:
      Czarnik, Dube, Foo

      Valimaki, Kylington
      – does Stone get traded for a 3rd rounder (what we paid?)

    • BettmanReturns

      I’d honestly pencil Dube into Mangis spot on your chart personally. But hey who knows what will happen. We got a legit contender next season boys. Our top 6 is disgusting. Hats off to Brad.