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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    • Honkydonk

      With $13 million in cap space and 13 players to sign take away $11 million for Lindholm and Hanifin you have to think Stone is odd man out here at $3.5 million or someone is?

      I like the add as it says we expect more and expect to win now! Also means Brouwer buy out after next season.

      • mrroonie

        Not sure where you get your numbers from. The Flames have 18 players under contract, and Hanafin (bridge contract) and Lindholm will be nowhere near $11 million.

  • Clayton

    I think James Neal is exactly what the Flames had hoped Ferlund could have developed into. The value is good for a top 6 forward that has a few more 20+ goal seasons in him. The drop off typically begins at 34 for players so the Flames will get 3 solid years, one sliding year and one year where fans will wish he was gone. Seems like a pretty good makeover Tre has given the Flames.

    • buts

      Agree Clayton… I love the signing as it gives us almost 2 lines and if Foo or someone else surprise like Dube all we need is another goalie that can rest Smith and we are a contender.

    • Getpucksdeep

      He made 5 mil over 5 years on his last deal. a $750,000 raise isn’t overpaying. The term is the “price” paid and there will be a new CBA negotiated soon and there may be free buyouts with it like last time. Either way the cap hit can be bought out before he hits 35. Meanwhile lets just enjoy what a 220lb winger with a quick release can bring us for a few years!

  • flames2015

    Wow, this is some news to wake up to! Not at all what i expected. I personally am stoked for this, we’ve been saying we need a true #1 RW for how many years now. Our forward line up from top to bottom gets me pumped!

  • Zalapski

    Tre sure makes the young guys earn it! It’s tough for any of the prospects to crack the lineup as is. Foo is going to have to prove it in the A and even Andersson is blocked by a vet right now. Mangiapne, Foo, Valimaki,
    Dube will all be competing in camp and this makes Klimchuk and Shinkaruk most definitely farm fodder.

    • cberg

      Your statement is true, but these guys need to be the next Top6ers/Top4s and not just barely making it onto the 4th line or bottom pairing. I have no problem with the competition, the proof will be in the final selections and whether the best players get the positions versus the guys who have been there before. We shall see. With a new coach and philosophy, I have hope.

    • Getpucksdeep

      Unless Treliving still has another multi player swap hidden up his sleeve then there is very little room for more youth. Mind you there lots of young players now with the most of the core of the team still under 24 and both Lindholm and Hanafin adding to that mix of Monahan, Gaudreau, Bennett, Tkachuk, Jankowski and the younger D men like Kulak and Andersson.

  • RKD

    Comparing this deal to Brouwer is ludicruous James is a vastly superior player. Brouwer was propped up in St. Louis and made better by his teammates. Maybe it is a tad too long, he’s still making less than Gio and a much better option than Maroon. BT didn’t have to give up anyone off his roster which he would have had to if he wanted to do it via trade for a Kessel, Duchene, Skinner, etc.

  • Thunder1

    James “the real deal” Neal plus Lindy and Hanifin at an opening night cost of Ferly and Hamilton from last season… what’s not to like? We didn’t make the playoffs. Treliving had to shake it up. I think the Flames will be way better next season and frankly, don’t care less how they spend Murray Edward’s ?

  • Skylardog

    Not sure what I think here. I think he can score and we needed that badly. I also doubt that he has the legs to be a top 6 forward 2 to 3 years from now.

    5v5, Neal was a 17 goal 12 assist, 29 point player, 1.75 points per 60 and now has a $5.75 cap hit for 5 years.

    5v5, Ferland was 14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points and 2.05 points per 60 playing on the top line that appeared to have had some serious injuries effecting their play, all for $1.75 plus a raise coming, likely one that would have been in the same $5.75 if he stayed on the top line here (and injuries were not a factor).

    Then there is the age factor, a 31 year old on 5 years vs a 26 year old on one more year that we certainly could have signed to $5.75 mid season if he was here and on the first line.

    Can Neal play on the fist line and score at better than 2.2 points/60, and do it for 5 years?

    Missing Ferly already

    • canadian1967

      Ferland has injury issues (several concussions) and add in the ravages of addiction to your calculations.
      Neal is a great skater, so even if he spends the last year in the bottom 6 he will still be a useful player with a scorers touch.

      • WidemansAnger

        Ferland is recovering from addiction not “ravaged” by his addiction. His recongnition of a weakness and willingness to address it takes courage and a high level of self improvement. This should be seen as a Strength not as weakness you are eluding to. Most times when a person recovers and addresses their demons they become more motivated. On that note I am glad Ferland is home and Neal is in, Ferlands play was inconsistent and was also hit and miss on the heart and hustle. Neal is going to be solid every night.

        • canadian1967

          Good on him for succeeding.
          He started drinking in his early teens, physiologically this will have affected his brain and add in his concussions and this is a young man with serious brain trauma.
          Even in a PC world just because someone has quit drinking you can state facts while applauding him for quitting his addiction doesn’t mean there are no effects left from it.

  • Clayton

    His Points/60min is 53 per 82 games. Even better is the fact that only 8 players have scored more goals than him 5v5 in the past 3 seasons…he is even ahead of Tavares in that category.

    • Skylardog

      Not sure what the numbers are in your post. Points/60 all situations last season, Neal 2.16, Ferland 2.32. The problem is that Neal is at the end of his career.
      I believe he is not capable of first line minutes, and my immediate but just my opinion, is that Lindholm is not a first line winger either. I still think we are missing the top RW we so badly need, and that as far as the players we have had, Ferland is still the best option we had.

      I am not saying Ferland is a great 1st line RW. I will admit fully, that I could be wrong about Lindholm and the book is open on him being able to slot in with JG and Mony.

  • EhPierre

    I know some of you are concerned about this contract; the concern is valid. But you have to remind yourselves that he was making $6m so to sign a UFA to less than what he was making, is really impressive. Especially when its a top 6 winger that’s consistently putting up 20 goals, has been to two consecutive finals and plays with an edge. From all the rumours I’ve been reading, it seems like he turned down a few teams despite most of them paying higher, but with less term.

    A few of you are quite disappointed at Tre for not getting Reaves (not sure why) but Neal plays the game with an edge and is perfect for us as we compete in one of the physical divisions in the league. If one of the kids can come into camp (Mangi, Dube) and really blow the doors off, I have to imagine that Frolik has to be shipped out.

  • Stu Gotz

    Summer is still young folks. Treliving is only getting started. The team gave up on management, coaches and fans last season. He is now going to change that culture big time! GFG!

  • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

    What is interesting is that if we look at the positions guys played last year I think James Neal is the 3rd best LW on this team behind JG and MT. That said, James Neal needs to be in the top 6 so I think that means that MT will be joining JG on the top line. That probably means that Neal plays with Backlund or Ryan. Neal/Backlund/Lindholm could be interesting. Neal/Ryan/Lindholm would be the other possibility which would mean Bennett/Backlund/Frolik would be the third line and that somehow makes a lot to sense. This barring no trades of course. The one thing that I wonder about is if Ryan at 2C is a stretch.

  • Skylardog

    I would like to remind everyone that many, many on here have been screaming for the team to get younger as that appears to be the trend to be successful in the NHL. This move goes against that trend.

    I like Neal, I wish we had Neal on the Flames last season. But he is getting long in the tooth for todays NHL.

    I hope he can provide secondary scoring, and I am sure he will be able to do that.

    But please be consistent. If you have said in the past you want youth, then be careful on applauding this deal. This is not one that makes us younger and faster.

    Hoping he can find 2 linemates that need a bump in scoring and help them to pot some serious points (wink wink Mr Bennett and Mr Jankowski)

    • cberg

      Considering all of BT’s moves so far, the team has gotten considerably younger and faster, as well as more skilled. You don’t need to check all the boxes with every change, just the team as a whole. Neal is a great addition.

      • Getpucksdeep

        30 is long in the tooth? Tell that to Ovie or Crosby. To be sure some players loose their speed early but most of todays NHL pro atheletes peak by 22-25 and have a “best before” date of 32-35. 30 is an arbitrary number.

    • Burnward

      Oh nooooes!!!!

      All we got is a guy that can score goals.

      If your game is based on skating like a Frolik, age matters way more than a guy with talent to score goals.

    • Getpucksdeep

      The LA Kings have the best 3 year combined goals against in the NHL over the last 3 seasons. Quick, Carter, Kovalchuk, Phanuef, Kopitar and Brown all all over 32 years old now. Don’t advocate a return to having 10 vets over 30 but a mix is still needed and Calgary has that in spades. Also note Captain Gio at 34 is still very much on his game.

    • FL?MES

      Ferland is gone. Time to get over it Skylar.

      Neal is legit and lays down a missing piece of the puzzle. I’m pro youth movement but I also realize that you need a mix of players to build a well balanced team.

        • Searsy

          I wrote that Janko line second, but really, as explained below, they’ll play sheltered minutes with mostly o zone starts given Backlund/Frolik will still be doing the heavy lifting. You can consider the Janko line as a third line if that makes you feel more comfortable, but I like looking at them as a second scoring line.

    • Searsy

      Thinking here is Neal’s best seasons in the league were when he played RW on the Pens. Thinking on my second line is that Janko seems more like a shooter to me than a distributor and Lindholm is the opposite. Perfect match. Tkachuk can do it all and will drive play on that line and help Janko on the defensive side. This line can also have loads of O zone starts. Bennett moves to Backlund’s line where he has enjoyed his only offensive success since he’s been in the league. With Backs and Frolik’s puck pursuit, this line will still be capable of shutting down the other team’s top lines. Fourth line will be responsible (with Ryan’s faceoffs and CF%), but also looks to be able to contribute offensively. I have Czarnik written in with pen, but Mangiapane is only pencilled in. This is the spot in the lineup that Foo, Dube, Gawdin and Phillips can also compete for.

      Brouwer will be on the team, but will hopefully be the 13th forward and only be a part time 4th liner. Lazar can be the 14th forward if we decide to keep one. No room on this team as it stands for Hathaway, Lomberg etc.

      • withachance

        Those are the lines I would go with too. That second line is perfect, as Janko is not neccessarily going to be the centre on every rush with Lindholm switching in C on certain draws. 4th line RW is up for grabs, but I think 4th line LW is Mangi’s to lose

  • FL?MES

    This offseason is amazing! I was worried that Tre wouldn’t do enough but he’s tearing the walls down and building a new look team. Just what the doctor ordered.

    Go ? Go!!!

  • Brian Burkee

    I see the flames are going down the oilers route. All about the forwards. Defence better play above there heads this year. If you can’t get the puck out of your own zone it can be tough.

    • WillyWonka

      If the Flames traded their top 3 defenseman for bottom six plugs, that would be equivalent to going down the Oiler trail… Flames are both solid and deep on defense, but thanks for trolling, i realize you’re team did duck-all because they traded stars for nothing and are in cap hell with big money going to losers like Lucic… your welcome to hang around and enjoy the fun here, cause we know how dead it is at your ON

      • Still no edit button?

        Oilers fans are just super jealous that we have competent management and don’t need to be gifted a ton of first overall picks to be some what competitive.

  • Brian Burkee

    On the Carolina website they are saying Lindholm was looking for 4.5-5.0 mill per
    How much will Matt and Keith Tkachuk want??? 5 mill per? What about the rest of the RFA’s. All of a sudden we have zero cap space. If we are going into cap hell then we better damn well have a cup contender on our hands. Can Mike Smith take us to the glory land? Can we do this without an offensive d man?

    • supra steve

      Tkachuk will be looking for way more than $5 mil per, but his next contract doesn’t kick in till the 2019-20 season.

      As for scoring from the D, granted we lose our #1 point producer in Hamilton. But with 3 more of the league’s top 60 D scorers in the lineup, I think the Flames will be just fine.

      Man, James Neil would have looked pretty good beside McJesus, wouldn’t he?

      And Gio, Brodie, Hanifin would really solve a lot of the Oil D woes.

  • Off the wall

    Lot of good comments this morning.
    Looks like Treliving has made Calgary “great again”, sorry for the USA reference, but I couldn’t help myself.

    We are tearing down walls and building new ones. What’s wrong with this?

    Neal is a scorer and a tenacious player. If Treliving hasn’t handed out a NTC or even a M- NTC, this is an absolute win for the Flames.

    Great job Mr Treliving!