177Milan Lucic Mike Smith
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

A brief history of Battle of Alberta trades

For the past 39 years, the Calgary Flames have been engaged in the Battle of Alberta with their bitter rivals, the Edmonton Oilers. The two teams have played hundreds of times. They’ve engaged in dozens of fights. But until Friday’s trade, there had been more popes since 1980 than trades between the two rivals – now that tally is even.

Since 1980, five Oilers general managers and five Flames GMs didn’t conduct any trades with their rivals. Oilers GMs not trading include Glen Sather, Kevin Lowe, Peter Chiarelli and interim GM Keith Gretzky. Flames GMs not trading include Cliff Fletcher, Doug Risebrough, Al Coates, Craig Button and interim GM Brian Burke.

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Three Oilers GMs and three Flames GMs broke the seal, though. Here are the three trades they’ve made to date.

March 3, 2010: Calgary trades Aaron Johnson and a 2011 third round pick to Edmonton for Steve Staios

Looking to add some experience and grit for a playoff push, Flames GM Darryl Sutter did the unthinkable – he made a trade with Edmonton. (Edmonton’s GM at the time was Steve Tambellini.) Staios was alright for the team, but didn’t give them much of a boost. (Johnson and the pick didn’t fare much better for the Oilers.)

Staios missed most of the following season with injuries (and was fairly flat otherwise), eventually giving rise to the FlamesNation meme “Staios! Is! Available!” He left the team as a free agent in 2011 and we all vowed to put this silliness behind us.

November 8, 2013: Calgary trades Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit to Edmonton for Ladislav Smid and Olivier Roy

This trade made a bit more sense than the Staios swap. Looking for a veteran to help guide a rebuilding Flames squad, Jay Feaster sent tweener forward Horak and junior goalie Brossoit to Edmonton for Smid and Roy, a minor league goalie. (Edmonton’s GM at the time was Craig MacTavish.)

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Like Staios, Smid struggled with injuries and consistency and ended up riding out the final year of his contract on the long-term injured reserve list after a couple serious neck injuries. He landed in the Czech Republic as a free agent. Brossoit was easily the player who made it out of this swap looking the best, and he didn’t really get a foothold on a steady NHL gig until he became the backup in Winnipeg years later.

July 19, 2019: Calgary trades James Neal to Edmonton for Milan Lucic and a conditional 2020 third round pick

As with the prior two swaps, Brad Treliving’s trade with Edmonton was seeking to find a particular attribute or two. Staios was veteran grit. Smid was experience and leadership. Lucic is physicality, particularly with the departure of Garnet Hathaway. (The trade is functionally an acknowledgement that Ryan Lomberg might not be the heir apparent to that fourth line spot.)

The Staios trade was a declining team struggling to stay in the playoff hunt (and failing). The Smid trade was a rebuilding team trying to find a mentor for their youngsters. The Lucic trade is, at best, a team making a lateral trade with a rough contract and hoping to find a player who’s a better fit for the role that they have available. With the top six the Flames have, Neal wasn’t going to find his way back into that mix… and if he’s not scoring, you probably would rather have Milan Lucic manning the third or fourth line in limited minutes than Neal.

Time will tell if the third Battle of Alberta trade is as fruitful (or fruitless) for both sides as the previous two.

  • Justthateasy

    Sure, this trade is at least something. I don’t think there is a downside for the Flames. As far as the no movement clause with respect to protecting for the Seattle draft, I would think that would have been discussed between management and the player as a prerequisite handshake deal. No reason why he wouldn’t waive it. It would reflect on his value if he didnt get picked but if he did get picked he would be going towards home in Vancouver. No real lost for the player with all that cash coming in. So let’s be happy and see what unfolds.

    • Ken Holland

      Neal specifically asked to be traded to Edmonton. That is the main reason Treliving made this move. Itll be coming out in Elliots 31 thoughts article and is already out in the Edmonton Journal.

      Lucic had to be called by 4-5 different former flames to be convinced of waiving hit NTC and will not waive his NMC moving forward.

      Seems like one player is excited about moving to their new team and the other is not.

      Lastly, look at the clause in the deal for the draft pick. This is the most telling fact about how the teams evaluate these players.

      Tre “If the player I trade you scores 21 goals and ends up with more than double the goals than the player you give me, can I have a 3rd?”

      Holland “yes.”

      This move is pure desperation from Tre, upper management should step in and prevent this GM from making any further moves. He is clearly on his way out and is making some very obvious desperate moves that will hurt the Lames long term.

      • Ken Holland

        June 3, 2018

        Flames GM Jim Treliving: “This is the type of player we’ve been looking for. We’ve liked him for a long time. He’s been successful for a long time at one of the hardest jobs in hockey, and that’s shooting it in the net… He’s a perennial 20-plus goal scorer every year. He’s an ultracompetitive guy. He’s had playoff success. He’s a big body. He’s played the last game in the league for the last two years in a row. He checks a lot of boxes for us and gives us a lot of options.”

        July 2019

        Milan Lucic is a Flame. Traded for a player signed 12 months ago. That is just hilarious.

        • Ken Holland

          “When Connor saw Steven Stamkos and [James] Neal here a couple of years ago, he said, ‘I can’t ever imagine being that strong and that fit,’” Roberts said. “I told him that if he worked hard enough, he could do it.”

          Neal has been hanging around with Connor McDavid for years at Gary Roberts off-season Ontario group sessions. “I see Connor every day, he’s the best, couldn’t ask for a better captain or guy. Every day he comes in and does his work. Being able to work out with him and skate with him is awesome. If I get a chance to play with him now that would be great, the way he dishes the puck fits my style.” said Neal, who first encountered Roberts’s regimen when he was in high school.

          • buts

            If Neal’s been working out for years with mcjesus than getting faster this summer will be a challenge. The games I went to this year I’m sure OTW on his old timers team is faster. Neal was slow, behind the play, disengaged and couldn’t do squat with the puck, which he barely had on his stick.

          • HOCKEY83

            Ya but what about the things he said to him before he became an Oiler. What the hell is he supposed to respond. He just joined the team. Of course he’s going to gush about his captain. What
            …is it the first time you’ve ever heard a player interview regarding his new team

        • oilcanboyd

          Ken, Your last statement is hilarious! If a player is traded 12 months after signing just goes to show you how god awful Neal was with the Flames – a team that garnered 107 points and finished second in the NHL.

        • Ken Holland

          Which sits are those? These are actual comments from the players, GMs and coaches.

          Way more educated than the nonsense being posted by the fans on this site.

          • Trevy

            Every word you speeed is the worse bunch of crap I’ve ever read. I’ve read countless interviews regarding this trade from coaches, past players the players in question and never heard any of that. Whatever makes you sleep at night thinking the Oilers “won” this trade based on not a single game being played with their new respective teams. I could throw one fact your way too, any player traded to the Oilers suffered badly and every Oiler player traded away excelled

      • Garth

        Holy crap man. Is that what all those years of losing does to an Oiler fan. It’s Sunday. Go outside and get some fresh air. Do you have a family, friends? Go and enjoy sometime with them. You are so angry and feel compelled to post 4 times to ensure we understand the Oilers won this trade….wow man settle down. Oilers got Neal, Flames got Lucic. Be a fan. Provide some intelligent input. Enjoy the BOA….get a life.

      • oilcanboyd

        Lucic posted a Flames jersey #17 on his twitter account the day of the trade. Raw Deal Neal hasn’t bothered. He is still: “#18 for the Calgary Flames!!!” *copied from his twitter account. Seems like Lucic is already a Flame and shows his excitement! Neal NOT so much!

      • HOCKEY83

        A we’ve seen all the fluff pieces Edmonton have written so far. It’s something they need to due considering the mind boggling horrible trades they’ve made over the last few seasons. Obviously they are going to spin this as floofy as they can.

    • MDG1600

      Totally disagree with justthateasy – there is clearly downside on this trade for the Flames. The downside is that if Lucic does not return to 15-20 goal form (and I hope he does)his contract will provide little or no cap relief on a buyout where Neals would have. Plus he will need to be protected for the expansion draft. There is zero reason to believe that Lucic has agreed to waive his NMC for the expansion draft.

      • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

        That’s actually not totally true. I’ve actually looked at a breakdown of the two contracts if they are both bought out Summer of 2021 which is highly likely, Lucic has more of a cap hit the first two years and then Neal actually becomes more of a cap hit the final two years.

        So Calgary actually does get a fair bit of cap relief in the 2023-2024 & 2024-2025 seasons because Lucic’s contract was so front loaded, it’s not insignificant either it’s $1,406,250 savings a year over the last third and fourth years of the buyout. Honestly Lucic’s hit the last half of the buyout would only be $510,417 a season, which is essentially nothing. So it makes sense for Calgary to buy Lucic out in Summer of 2021. So all we have to see of Lucic is one full year next year, where I think he is more likely to bounce back than Neal from all of the available data and then a second year of Lucic basically just sitting in the press box most nights and then he gets bought out.

        • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

          Just in case anyone was wondering if both contracts are bought out in the Summer of 2021 it looks like this.

          Calgary pays Lucic: Year 1 ($3,572,917), Year 2 ($4,885,417), Year 3 ($510,417), Year 4 ($510,417).

          Edmonton pays Neal: Year 1 ($1,916,667), Year 2 ($1,916,667), Year 3 ($1,916,667), Year 4 ($1,916,667).

          So again Calgary gets a cap relief of $1,406,250 a year for the final two seasons of the buyout. Honestly after year two of buying out Lucic he only becomes a cap hit of $510,417, so he essentially becomes off our books after year 2 of the buyout, which again is nothing. Overall the contract structures benefit Calgary more, even if we pay a little more upfront we get more flexibility on the back end, which is likely why we did this deal.

          • Kevin R

            Those are cap hits. Did you take into account the $750K of the Oilers share of that buyout & cap? What are the actual real $$$ being paid out if each player is paid out in 2021. I would think Flames ownership have to write a significantly less paycheque because Lucic has been paid a huge front loaded bonus amount by the Oilers already.

          • MDG1600

            So what are the flames supposed to do in years 1 and 2 when the Lucic cap hit is almost double? At the very least Lucic’s contract makes cap management more difficult than Neals contract.

  • Heeeeere’s Johnny

    Something has been amiss with FN log-ins the last few days so this is the first chance I have had to comment about this trade.

    On the surface it is a wash … bad contract for bad contract with financial compensation associated with the restrictive clauses of the Lucic deal and a draft pick associated with a bounce back Neal 2019-20 (we get the 3rd if Neal outscores Lucic by 10 or more goals).

    Below the surface it really does look like the Oilers won this deal as I think there is a greater probability that Neal adds on-ice value to EDM than Lucic to the Flames.

    I’m of the opinion that Treliving is a competent GM and he wouldn’t make this deal unless there was something more. I’m guessing there is some “addition by subtraction” that is really important and we may not hear of it for some time. Did Peter’s say “get that A-hole out of my room”?. Did Gio have a problem with Neal’s lack of effort? Did it become apparent that his entitled attitude seeped into the team and created a lack of commitment during the playoffs? Was he so disruptive to team chemistry that Tre would have given him away (so many trades in his history might indicate a “room problem”).

    Something doesn’t add up … maybe we needed to subtract instead to make the math work.

    • Budgie

      Trevling likely tried to move Neal with several teams and this was the only option. Neal was supposed to be a First or Second line addition, his purpose was assists and scoring while playing top minutes. In reality, he looked slow and out of position often, he was never going to rise above third line duty, and was benched. Neal is a team guy, there is nothing to the idea that he was a Negative personality.
      With Lucic the purpose is clear-Grit and Toughness-his role is clear and he isn’t supposed to be a scorer or play-maker. Lucic can be valuable for his presence on the team, that being said he can also stand in front of the opposition’s goal-tender. Lucic surprisingly doesn’t take a ton of penalties and he isn’t a Goon/Fighter. He is a solid hitter and can create some room for smaller players to pickup a puck after Lucic demolishes a puck carrier into the boards. He like Neal, are vastly over-paid but at least Lucic will have a clearly defined purpose on the bottom 6 rather than taking up a spot that ideally should have been top 6. For Neal to get back to being a point generator he needs top 6 minutes and Calgary has 8 players ahead of Neal-but 0 players for toughness ahead of Lucic. Bennett and Tkachuk tried to be the tough guys, now they can relax a bit when the games get rough.

      • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

        Yeah, James Neal just didn’t fit anywhere on our roster. No way is he able to play in our Top. 9 next year especially with players like Mangiapane, Dube, etc only getting more confident and Neal isn’t nearly physical enough to play on the fourth line, at least Lucic is tough and can get spots starts coming out of the press box the next two years if he can’t find a spot in our Top. 9.

        One really interesting thing about this trade is looking at the buyout costs of their two contracts.

        Milan Lucic’s contract is more favourable in the last two years of a buyout than I thought, compared to Neal because his contract structure was more front loaded. If Lucic is bought out in the summer of 2021 after the 2023-2024 season he only has a cap hit of $510,417 for the last two seasons. Whereas James Neal carries a cap hit of $1,916,667 after the 2023-2024 for two more years.

        Therefore from 2023-2024 to 2025-2026 Milan Lucic has a cap savings of $1,406,250 compared to Neal when bought out. So we opened up a decent amount of cap room in the future with this trade, even if the first two years of the buyout hurt us a little more with Lucic, because let’s be honest both of these contracts are going to be bought out in two years time. Seattle isn’t taking either one of these players in the expansion draft. Let’s stop that discussion entirely, no one will want either of these players in two more years when they’re 34-34, Hahah

    • Budgie

      No-the “Lames’ who finished 2nd. in league with 107 points to Edmonton finishing 25th. with 79 points needed some size and hitting, there was no room in the top 6 for Neal. If Lucic gets 10-20 goals Calgary doesn’t give up a draft pick, if Lucic hits are 250, less than last year’s 259 the Calgary is satisfied in his role-low penalty minutes relative to hits and over 200 hits for the past 6 seasons. Neal has average 40 points for the past 5 seasons-except last year’s 19 points-I’ll take Lucic’s hitting over 200 times instead of Neal’s maximum of 40 points

      • Budgie

        This was better for both teams when the alternative is a buy-out-good analysis-Lucic and Neal both have to earn themselves their huge salaries. I’d rather see Lucic roaming around than Bennett or Tkachuk having to mix it up and taking penalties-we need them on the ice playing not scrapping

        • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

          It’s funny if you look at the last three years Neal and Lucic have almost identical numbers each posting 104 Points over that time frame (Lucic played in slightly more games, but is more durable). So for me it’s weird that the rhetoric is “Neal can bounce back”, but Lucic can’t… Lucic is the younger player and he’s broke 50 Points more recently than Neal has and Lucic’s underlying analytical numbers were much better last year playing in way tougher situations with far less talented line mates. If anyone is bouncing back the numbers actually suggest it’s Lucic, not Neal and again at least Lucic is tough and useful in a fourth line role.

          • Budgie

            Yes, and Neal on a Fourth line would have everyone on Peters case, management and his agent, Trevling and Peter are better with Lucic as a reclamation project-I actually hope Neal gets the 21 goals so that Calgary gets the 3rd. round pick. Both teams have risks, both with expensive contracts, the third rounder might be valuable down the line

          • The Red Knight

            Everyone is forgetting to minus $750,000 per year of lucics cap hit , and should basically add $750,000 to Neal’s , read the articles on Oilersnation there hilarious. I guess Nurse is gonna have to protect the Mcdavid and the entire team now.

  • Phockey

    I don’t love the trade for Lucic but the thought of watching and waiting for Neal to do something to help the Flames for the next 4 seasons was not going to be fun either. I think there were a lot of Flames fans that were optimists and cheerleaders for Neals return to some sort of relaveance but the probability of that happening faded with every half assed shift he took. I think Neal made the Flames worse night to night. He clearly didn’t care or didn’t have the ability to show he cared what happened on the ice. I have always been a fan of Lucic with the exception of the last two years in the Onion. The business end of the deal is mostly a wash. It is a fresh start for Lucic, he will have a limited role with low expectations. I think he has already made every Flame taller, feistier and more confident without even hitting the ice. I don’t know if Neal has accepted his decline given the apparent attitude and lack of compete shown last season. Calgary scored 57 more goals than Edmonton last year. If Neal was going to get some luck going on the scoresheet it would have happened during that offensive surge. The odds of him making the trade look bad for Calgary are not good considering the North South speed game they are trying to establish in Edmonton and without any real roster change year over year. Neal scores 10 with 7 coming on the power play and is a minus player. Lucic gets 14 and adds loads of confidence to a team that desperately needs size and death stares.

    • The Beej

      Yeah I would agree with every word of that. When Neal was hurt the team didnt miss him at all and honestly having him in the lineup would be a distraction as he likely would not be happy on the fourth line. But 4th line is where he would have to go as he wasnt adding anything to Janko and Bennetts game.

      Lucic is at worst a lateral move but if you dig into the numbers Lucic is the superior player defensively and Neal is atrocius in that function. 35 give aways to 11 takeaways. Awful.

      This probably makes us a more rounded team:

      When Neal was hurt this team showed we dont need his offence. His game is one dimensional in that regard and I think he showed that if he isnt scoring he is actually hurting the team with his play.

      Lucic will bring a better defensive game and he is someone who is actually feared.

      Im still skeptical that Lucic in limited minutes will be a deterrent but if the going gets rough you can always give him the odd shift on the top line.

      Lucic has a lack of speed. But we all saw Neals lack of speed this year so we really dont lose any speed overall. Any scoring we lose out on should be balanced with a better defensive game.

      • Pizzaman

        Even if Lucic doesn’t get to his check quick enough he only has to yell “Booo” and defenders could make a mistake. I agree Neal is a huge negative if he cant score. I only hope he comes into the next dressing room with the right attitude.

      • Kevin R

        A few of us were talking about it today & I think Neal would have been forgiven for his terrible regular season if he showed up in the playoffs. He’s a big boy, all he needed to do was show some snarl, get a little rambunctious like Ferland did against Vancouver that year & Flames fans would have totally forgiven him. He didnt, all he did was go after Peters about his usage. Sadly for Oiler fans is they think they won the Lotto max because yes Lucic isnt a top 6 power forward anymore & I would say Neal is an upgrade over anything they currently have other than Drysaddle, McDavid & RNH.

      • Budgie

        With Hathaway gone Lucic fills a role and is better defensively-what about having Lucic stand in front of the net on the powerplay? I was surprised how few penalty minutes he takes-the better defensive game is a good point, he hits hard and clean. I think he can pressure the opposition to pass quickly, who cares if he is a bit slow coming back if he is able to put pressure on players who have the puck, a defense man is going to move the puck instead of getting hammered, could disrupt the oppositions transition

  • Abagofpucks

    So Neal is good buddies with Conner and their training hard together, sounds good to me and gives me hope Neal can redeem himself with the oilers.
    And Neal also gets to reunite with Smith and they are also good friends, this has the makings of a comeback story of the year .

    All of or most of ON are singing the praises of Ken Hollend for throwing lucics boat anchor contract overboard right onto the good ship Value Village.
    I have to admit i’m skeptical of Neal making a comeback but ive been laughing my A$$ off all weekend over this deal and im happy about it.

    I’ll put up with Neal and i’m darn glad you have looch instead of us. This opens up a lot of possibilities For holland going forward AHHAHAHAHA .

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      If you believe rumors, Neal called out Smith (denied it later) for letting in crap goals. Try stopping the FN puck was what he was supposedly said. I don’t think there was much respect between the two. Good luck with Neal on a defensively suspect Oilers team. It’s not his game. He will be out there for more goals against than Draisaitl and Russell.

      Didn;t like the trade, but I don’t think this was a win for the Oilers. Lucic wears the goat horns for a team incapable of getting to the playoffs. He didn;t help, but neither did 19/23 of the roster. Holland is a god the same way Chia was a god after the Maroon trade. When Neal is the biggest change to a team finishing 6th last, then don’t expect Neal to erase the 50 goal differential the Oilers had.

    • Off the wall

      That’s nice. This is Flames Nation. If you want to talk hockey, we’re glad to oblige you.

      Gloating is silly, especially since we’re months away from actually playing a game.

      Can’t you be happy (bragging) somewhere else?

        • The Iggy complex

          Haha while we have been sitting here laughing at three Oilers for 14 years. Oh yea poor flames fans trading away there biggest plug after a year they got 107 pts. You Oilers fans really have a hard time with the concept of hockey. Understandable though cheering for one of the worst franchises in hockey

          • Backcheck?

            Why only pick 14 seasons? Why not more? I always enjoy watching the arguments where sections of history are cherry picked to suit the argument. Are we talking worst franchises in the past 14 years or ever, I can’t tell. I agree they have been terribly run for many years, just not sure what timeline is wrapped around that part of the comment.

      • Kevin R

        Hey OTW! Have a true story for you.
        I have family members that volunteer at the Flames Charity golf tourney last Sept. When one of them saw Neal they asked him “You going to hit 30 goals with Johnny?” All he said was “40” with a big smile.

        His expectations were top line & I would imagine Tre got him to sign by giving him that carrot opportunity. We really didnt know what we had in Lindholm. When Lindy pushed him down off that line after Neal did diddly squat, they tried Neal with Backlund & Chucky. Frolik got demoted to the 4th line & that was the beginning of the Frolik agent sh!ght show. He couldnt even get his game with the 2nd line & was delegated to the 3rd line. If it wasnt for his injury, it could have been even worse. The guy was completely lost out there. Train all you want but holy cow, you better get it together on the ice. I think the frustration built up to the playoffs between him & Peters.

        So here is what I tell these gloating Oiler fans. Trades are supposed to benefit both teams or they would never happen. I am quite sure if Chiasson can get over 25 goals with McDavid so can Neal. Good for them, they actually have a more credible top 6 forward because they are desperately in need of one. If Neal hits that total, we get a 3rd from a lottery team, that is great! Neal would not have made our top 6 next year. Neal wasnt the reason we won the Pacific & were the first seed out of the West, we did that in spite of what Neal did.

        Neal was not making us better team next year. Lucic will. Lucic will be our answer to when the refs go brain dead & put away their whistles & players take liberties. We dont need Lucic to score a bunch a goals. Teams were literally mugging Tkachuk if he even went near the net & no one helped him. That changes & I dare say, I expect Tkachuk to be even a bigger pest & antagonist. If guys go after him or one of our other skilled guys, Peters will have them up against Lucic on the next faceoff. I am thrilled about this trade the more I think of it.

        So the question I ask all these Oiler clowns that are coming to gloat, why cant we have a trade where both teams accomplish moving players that needed to be moved & fill important needs each other were badly lacking? Why can people see this as a win win trade? I realize we are fierce rivals & want to think we just hammered each other in a trade. We didnt have the cap space to sign a Ferland or Trade picks & prospect for Reaves. But we managed to move a toxic contract & player in our dressing room & fill it with a need & actually gain $500K cap space immediately which will probably cover half of Magpie’s new deal.

        Thats my story :-> Enjoy this sunny Sunday!!!

        • The Iggy complex

          Kevin no point in telling Oilers fans that. They need this as an opportunity to try and feel better about their terrible team. They have lost every trade in the last five years. So finally a good hockey trade that Benifits both and of course they think it is a fleecing. Just wait. I’m due time they will be out of three playoffs again and complaining about how slow Neal is. It will be all good fault they didn’t make the playoffs like it was all reiders fault last year

    • Budgie

      Edmonton gave Lucic his 6 million which was ridiculous, set the bar high for all bottom 6 veteran’s salaries. Neal was signed for 5.75 million because of his 20 goals a year background, 2 million too much but that is RFA’s. Ken Holland and Trevling both had players no one else would touch at 6 million so a lateral move made sense. Calgary doesn’t need Neal and Edmonton doesn’t need Lucic. We have to wait and see if there is a winner and loser, see where Calgary ends up and where Edmonton ends up after the season. Calgary could have used Lucic during the playoffs last year, maybe the post season is where Lucic’s true value is.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      You are going to love Neal. He is going to show you how to handle Connor’s silky passes…like a grenade while blaming Connor for his ineptitude. What is the over/under for healthy scratch.

      • Shameless Plugger

        You’re gonna love Lucic. Hits lots, usually about two seconds after the puck is gone and doesn’t affect any part of the play at all. You’re gonna love his inability to process the speed of the game now that the emphasis is on skill and speed, and not grinding and pounding in the corners. I thought we were getting the Boston Bruin version of Looch, yet we got a guy whose being passed by in the game. He doesn’t fight much anymore (2 last year I think) and hasn’t been effective for the better part of two seasons. Expectations of “protection” might be misguided and leave you disappointed.

    • Trevy

      Neal couldn’t crack our top six and barely made it to top nine, but is probably good enough for the Oil’s top line. Um, good luck with that. Lucic was even quoted as saying that it was hard to stay engaged knowing every game with the Oilers was basically meaningless cause they were already out of the playoffs so early, but excited to be joining a team that plays meaningful games. Based on that, Neal will surely be invisible with you guys

    • The Red Knight

      Your basically paying Neal 6.5 mill for the next 4 years , in that swap , We will see but I’d be surprised if Neal outscored Lucic next season. We will see how buddy buddy Neal and Connor are , causeConnorsreally gonna get mauled now , lol how’s the knee ?lol

  • Pizzaman

    (I too haven’t been able to log in or wade in.) When you are 3 hours up or down the QE2 no GM can do an “out of site out of mind” deal for a past mistake. However both GMs needed to pull this off. Clearly toughness was needed after the Flames playoff ker-splat. Savings of salary, cap space and conditional 3rd rounder are helpful but surely no one believes that BT would get anything better. Obviously Lucic knows he isn’t going to be in the top 6 and with a good attitude…this could work.
    Meanwhile Holland has to trade Looch or Chiarelli’s problem becomes his problem (ie: performance versus expectations). Taking Neal and telling him top 6 sounds like Groundhog Day for Neal again (plus Neal is thinking “I train really really hard with McDavid every day”). In the end for both players walking into a new dressing room gives them a chance to start over.

      • Skylardog

        Thank You. Bout time some one said that.

        We move out the slow players over the last few seasons, have some success, then revert back to the slow players again since BT got total control over decisions. Luc is a has been in today’s NHL.

        Not that Neal is much better. But I would take a properly used Neal over Luc any day of the week.

        Wake up and realize the problem that started this is Tre.
        Then realize that Peters made this worse.

        The GM and coach should be on the same wavelength. These two are showing they are not.

        • Budgie

          How can you argue with finishing 2nd. in the league last year?

          I recall Bennett and Hamonic trying to standup for our players-mixing it up and getting hurt doing so-Lucic has a presence and hits-259 hits last season and low penalty minutes-he will be useful, and we couldn’t find anyone else to take Neal anyways. Trev shopped around, Neal has good stats aside from last season and no one wanted him because they scout the games-everyone was curious why Neal skidded, they watched some games and decided they weren’t interested unless Calgary took on half his salary. (Guessing) or took on a portion of his salary, I think it is a pretty even up trade. Perhaps both players rebound or both stagnate-no harm done-Neal wasn’t going to play above 4th. line after last season. Calgary actually is a talented team without having top first round picks for 20 yr.s like Edmonton.

        • calgaryfan

          I don’t know about you but I was tired of watching Zadorov mugging the Flames and getting away with everything in that series. Sure the Flames were out played and Colorado was the better team, but the Flames need someone to deal with guys like him.

        • Toma41

          Skylardog. How do you use Neal properly? He scores goals and that’s it(used to score goals). He wanted top 6 time. He was lucky to get top 9. His “injury” in the latter half of the season was BS. He dient want to play. When Neal doesnt score, he is useless. Lucic will atleast throw some hits and is defensively responsible.

  • Off the wall

    There has to be another trade coming. We still don’t have enough pesos to sign our RFA’s.

    I think the Lucic trade might be a sign that Treliving’s got something else in the works and has a good idea what it’s going to take to sign Tkachuk.

    At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some more dominoes fall into place.

    I don’t know what Treliving’s thoughts are, however I believe he wants some additional toughness in the lineup, especially after listening to his interviews.

    We’re not done. This is going to be a hell of a ride for the next few weeks!

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      After the missed Kadri trade, you have to assume that something similar is brewing. Gusev would be a nifty piece to add, but that’s not happening without a major restructing of money. Would require moving Frolik for nothing and buying out Stone. Janko and a 2nd for Gusev? Anyway, I think we are likely to see something like Brodie and Bennett (or Janko) moved for a top 6 C. Bennett is safe if he can play RW or be better than Janko there.

      The biggest issue other than cap is the number of LW’s we have versus RW. Too many guys that are slotted there because we don;t have natural RW’s. If Bennett could play RW, he could play top line or with Backlund. Even move to RW with Lucic and Janko. Would be better i he could become a 20 goal guy somewhere in the lineup.

  • Flamethrower

    Well for Neal, something has to be said for now he is on his 7th team in 11years!
    He is poison and personally I’m happy he has moved on to the coilers! Lmao!

  • drogon

    Looks like it might be more than a few tweaks. The next distraction, Frolik, should be out pretty soon. The thing is to bring Dubé & Mangiapane part of the top 9, it doesn’t look good for Jankowski. Having Lindholm & Dubé moved to the middle could be a nice upgrade. UFA’s are becoming cheaper by the day.

  • Beer League Coach

    Worst trade out of the 3 was the first one. Staios was a washed up and overpaid veteran who had nothing left to give to any team. Sutter traded a fringe D man and a 3rd round pick for him and tried to justify the trade saying he made it to bring veteran leadership to the Flames. At the time of that trade the Flames had the 2nd oldest team in the league. Only Detroit Red Wings were older.
    2nd trade was pretty much nothing for nothing. Horak chose to return to Europe rather than stay in Deadmunchuk. Broissoit did nothing until he ended up being a backup in Winnipeg. Roy finished the season in the ECHL and Smid was damaged goods for the duration of his time with Flames.
    Big winner in this 3rd trade is Lucic. He escapes from Deadmunchuk. Flames get some much needed muscle. Coilers have to hope and pray that Neal will somehow find a way to get interested in playing. Neal could be the biggest loser. He is condemned to live and play in Deadmunchuk. However, he got what he deserved after his year of non performance with Alberta’s best and most exciting team.

    • oilcanboyd

      Yep. two guys who were spinning their wheels and not happy with their current teams got traded. A lateral move at best. Flames feel they have an improvement in what they are missing as do the oilers. We shall see what we shall see. Love that picture of Lucic in Smitty’s wheelhouse. Hope for a replay on Dec 27th in Deadmonton!

  • Camosack

    I think the feeling is mutual for Calgary fans. We’re weary of James Neal. Maybe we will be the same for Looch in a few months. Who knows…
    Anyway, it’s not Looch’s and Neal’s faults. It Treliving and Chiarelli (and now possibly Holland) who are the goats. No guts no glory; no risk no reward.

  • BendingCorners

    Gaudreau is one of the best playmakers in the league. If Neal couldn’t work with him, it’s unlikely he’ll work with McDavid. If he does, great, the Flames get and extra pick.
    The question I would ask Treliving, given the opportunity, is “What have you learned about your ability to evaluate players, noting that Brouwer and Neal both performed poorly on arrival and that Neal’s attitude showed why his two previous teams were willing to part with him?”.

    • HarveysFleaCollar

      You cant say it didnt work with Gaudreau..Neal was never given the promised opportunity to play with Johnny. Lindholm was gifted the spot and made Peter’s look like a genius.

        • Skylardog

          Gifted. Started there on opening night, and despite being brutal for the first 2 weeks, kept the spot.
          The remained there when the line fell apart in the last 31 games of the season.

          Anyone other than Lind would have been put on the third or fourth lines early on or after the Allstar break.

      • Beer League Coach

        Neal was given first shot at playing with Johnnie in the pre season. He wasted no time in proving that he was not the guy to play with Johnnie. Lindholm got his chance and earned his position on RW with Johnnie and Monny.

      • HarveysFleaCollar

        Hey..I’m all for Lucic and getting rid of Neal and his pouting…BUT…if anyone on here was promised big money, a corner office, company Mercedes, fridays off and 6 weeks vacation to go to a new company to only get there and be given the money, but given a cubicle, a smart car and 2 weeks vacation..I doubt youd be happy. Neal was over promised and under delivered. Was never put in a situation to succeed. Neal’s failure is on himself, but Bill Peter’s is to blame as well.

        • Such BS. You know who was 99.9% to blame for Neal not doing well? Neal. You seem to write that Neal has some responsibility for his crap effort but most of it comes from not being given a chance. When he was given the opportunity he didn’t show any effort whatsoever to fight off the perhaps bad puck luck or low shooting percentage. He just made excuses and dragged his ass all over the ice. I am really glad he is gone. I am not saying I am happy being saddled with Lucic. That is a whole other kettle of fish.

    • Albertabeef

      Neal’s attitude showed why his two previous teams were willing to part with him?”.
      Neal was picked up in an expansion draft and left Vegas via UFA. Vegas made him an offer, he thought Calgary gave him a better chance to win.

      • BendingCorners

        Vegas made him a shorter offer, figuring he would not remain good for multiple years.
        But yes, I may be reading backwards into prior years from his season with the Flames. Seems odd though that a good player has changed teams every third season (lately every season). Usually teams try to keep good players.

        • Albertabeef

          What can a guy do when he is in the last year of his contract and he gets taken in the expansion draft. Although they had a miracle year, he probably thought they couldn’t duplicate it.

  • Squishin

    I hated this trade at first, and now I’m leaning more towards the positive. I mean, can Lucic actually be that much worse? Neal was awful! He’s a one-dimensional player whose one dimension failed through the whole season. At least the numbers show that Lucic knows how to play more of a two-way game, which is really what you need from the bottom six.
    I hated Neal’s attitude. I didn’t see any compete or any work ethic. Peters, of course, values both attributes very highly, and I’m not surprised there was tension there.

  • Albertabeef

    March 3, 2010: Calgary trades Aaron Johnson and a 2011 third round pick to Edmonton for Steve Staios-On December 28, 2010, Sutter resigned as the general manager of the Flames.
    November 8, 2013: Calgary trades Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit to Edmonton for Ladislav Smid and Marc-Olivier Roy- On December 12, 2013, Feaster was relieved as general manager
    July 19, 2019: Calgary trades James Neal to Edmonton for Milan Lucic and a conditional 2020 third round pick-Treliving days are numbered.

  • TheWheeze

    It’s tough to go off on Treliving about Neal and Brouwer. They were coming off of seasons where they both did their jobs well. Tre had every reason to expect it to carry over to a new team. It didn’t. It happens. This stuff is hard to predict.

    • BendingCorners

      I expected Brouwer to do poorly and said so at the time. I did not expect Neal to, and would still not be surprised if he scored 15-20 goals next year. On the other hand, players decline in their 30’s and I think it’s reasonable to expect Treliving to avoid high risk bets on aging mid-level scorers.

      • Albertabeef

        I care. The sooner we can get him outta here the sooner we can find someone better to fix it. Find someone who knows how to put the pieces together, I truly don’t think Tre can. Summer is for being pissed at the GM, come Training camp and the start of the season it’s go flames go. Until then I get to vent my disapproval of our GM. We will see by new years what this team is. Right now my faith is low. Twice in a week I get this horrible news of oilers players on my Flames team. It’s super frustrating to me. I don’t cheer for all Canadian teams like some people do, only my Flames. Bringing in two Oilers who had horrible seasons has that feeling of being touched by someone you don’t want touching you. Like I was just getting used to the fact we ended up with Talbot, now this feels even worse. But I will wait for Oct 1st.

    • Albertabeef

      @theweeze It not Brouwer and Neal that has me bitter at Tre. It’s a little of those but a whole lot of other things as well. Trading with the Oil and letting them out of their cap hell of Lucic is just down right wrong. But I guess that’s our problem now.

      • TheWheeze

        Yeah, good point. I too am wondering, as of late, what Tre has going on in his mind. It does seem that desperation is behind some of his latest moves. Oh well, it’s cap hell. A GM’s true mettle will be tested by how he plans his way out of it.

  • Kevwan

    As an Oiler fan I’m not sure what to make of Neal. Outside of vs the Oilers, I only saw the Flames play a couple of times. From years past I remember him as a goal scorer but from the comments on here it’s not promising.

    From what I’ve seen of Lucic I think the opinion of him on FN is upside down.

    HIts – His typical hit is in the offensive zone against the deepest Dman about 1/2 a second after the Dman moved the puck. Almost always Lucic takes himself out of the play leaving a 4 on 4 rush against with momentum. In the playoffs if he’s hitting Karlson, Schmidt, or Pietrangelo it might have an affect over 7 games but not really in regular season.

    Fighting- Lucic doesn’t fight much (only 2 fights last year). On several occasions Ryan Reeves, for example, has run around roughing up the Oilers smaller players. This has happened with many teams but Lucic does nothing. Sure having a top heavy weight on your bench can’t hurt but I’d temper your expectations on this aspect of his game. Dalton Prout brought just as much.

    Offense – This is where Lucic can improve. He came to the Oilers as Connor’s winger and became a deferential player. If you spend a year just giving the puck to your C and driving the net that fine when you’re playing with Connor. But when your center is Brodziak or Letestu. Peters needs to play him with speed, keep the game simple (forecheck) and I think Lucic offense has a rebound.

    Attitude – This is where Lucic shines. Lucic missed the playoffs 2 out of 3 years in Edmonton and saw his production fall through the floor. He has probably been the most maligned player in hockey the last 2 years. Unlike the Neals and Erikssons of the world he had no public spats with coaches or team mates. Lucic is a true pro with plenty of class and character – that matters.

    • deantheraven

      Great take, and much appreciated. I’ve been moving between two cities in Germany for the last- ever, and I only found out about the trade an hour ago. Been reading furiously oer here, getting insight from all the usual suspects. All of whom, like me, tend to see it from our side. I for one haven’y seen Lucic play much since he left Boston, or watched him on the bench or seen interviews, so it’s great to hear from somebody who has watched the new guy enough to know better what we’re getting. I can’t argue a single one of your points.
      As for what we’re losing, Neal isn’t a big loss.
      I can see the trade working for both players and their new teams, Neal might play better if he can stay with Connor and score like he had done before his disastrous season in Calgary. And Lucic could be a solid contributor that adds a physical element. I like it all around, except I’m still not sure what will happen with Expansion.

    • Budgie

      Half a second after the puck is moved? Not bad-he forced the D-man to pass-up skates Czarnik, or Jankowski, or Ryan, or Mangiapanne and they intercept-perfect-did you mean two seconds after? That would be a problem

      • Kevwan

        Half a second, 2 seconds, 6 seconds doesn’t matter -late is late. The biggest problem with Lucic and his lack of speed is his fore check game. He lost a 1/4 step and the league has gained 1/4 step since Milan’s fore checking heyday with the Bruins. If he’s still going to be first man in then he needs to get way faster (he has dropped weight this off season). More likely he will be a support player on the fore check. One of those young, fast guys that you mentioned should pressure the puck.

        What your describing is how the Oilers tried deploying him last year. Way to many empty, useless hits.

  • Off the wall

    You know it’s weird, however I have a great feeling about Lucic. Maybe it’s the beer talking (since I’ve had a few on today’s warm day) but I feel comfortable with the trade. Lucic, from everything I’ve read, is a character guy. He’s not going to drop the gloves just to fight. He’s a character leader, and that’s why he wore an A’ for the Oilers. He might not be what we initially envisioned for the Flames’ however the more I think about it the happier I am.

    That photo in the blog still bothers me. I remember it all too well. We had absolutely no one who was going to answer the scrum that ensued from Lucic and his lil’ “smack down” on Smith. I know truculence isn’t a popular notion among today’s NHL, but it inexplicably makes me feel better knowing that Lucic can pick his spots in providing what we lacked. Sheer intimidation and fear.

    I know I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of his 230 lb hit, nor meeting his fists in an altercation.

    I might be 5’6 but even I feel about 6’0 ft tall knowing he’s looking out for our players!

    Another beer and I’ll be 6’6…😉

    • Off the wall

      One other thing…
      I don’t know why we feel the need to bash Neal. If he’s training hard, I wish him the best. He’s had a few long seasons under his belt and conditioning is so important in today’s game.

      Personally, I want the 3rd round pick. I hope he has a great season with the Oilers, just not playing against us!

      • deantheraven

        My shentimentsh ezackly, OTW.
        It’s One am here.
        I wouldn’t be sad to see Neal break some personal records and if he can hang with Connor all summer and through next season and score say 25, I’d take the third.
        And I’m actually looking forward to seeing next season’s BOA even more.

  • The GREAT WW

    I love the Oiler story about: “Neal was traded to the Oilers because he told Treliving that he really wanted to be an Oiler”

    Neal has no trade protection; Treliving went to the highest bidder (in this case the only bidder….) the Oilers.

    It reminds me of when Sven Bearchi was traded to the Canucks.
    I said; why there?!
    That turned out ok…


    • Budgie

      Yes, Andersson was the pick—how about when Neuwendyke was traded and it ended up being for Iginla? I hope Neal scores 21 and Calgary gets a third round pick which will be like a late 2nd. round pick.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      That seems to be a fabrication of epic proportions. Prior to the trade, he was tweeting about working hard to improve so he would be ready for the season. Felt he didn’t get enough in last year and really regretted it. Sounded like someone that was reminded about why he was dropped to the 3rd line. The only time he mentioned the Oilers was after the trade, said he watched McD growing up and kept tabs on his play.

      Oiler hacks turning that into him requesting a trade to the Oilers. Making Holland out to be pure genious after the off-season was called a failure by every media person. Pretty low bar to get over I guess. Sekera will be a stud in Dallas. Granlund was the only notable signing, unless you consider paying Chaisson 3x as much as his PTO salary.

      Hope the BoA is more spirited this year. Lucic giving Smith the gears. Kassian calling in sick. Tkachuk running amok. Connor not getting penalty shots for marginal penalties. Bennett and Nurse squaring off. Fun stuff.

      • Abagofpucks

        LOL must be happy pill time in Value Village, now looch will lead you to the promised land.
        We know Neal is just a gamble in the wind, but the real deal is we got rid of a really bad nmc bonus filled, fell off a cliff player, to free up cap space down the road.

  • Looooooob

    We won the Western Conference with Neal as a boat anchor, we can do the same with a Lucic anchor. We are not relying on a bounce back season from Lucic, they are in Neal. Big difference. We will bury Lucic in the line-up like we did Neal.

  • KootenayFlamesFan

    I love how Coilers fans think Neal is the difference between 27th place and winning the cup.

    I think this will turn out to be a great trade. Looch cant possibly be worse than neal was last year . . .

  • Aquavid

    Time will tell who won the trade. But I think James Neal is an ineffective player if not playing in a top 6 role. It was apparent to me that there were too many players in Calgary that deserve top 6 minutes and James Neal was never going to reclaim those minutes. Moving forward, I think Lucic can play limited defensive minutes better than Neal. I also think the buyouts will come later for both players, and because Lucic’s contract was front loaded, Calgary ultimately wins the buy out.

  • PlayitagainSam

    The most important thing about this trade is that Neal can be bought out and Lucic can’t.
    Now all of you are now hypocrites because you think that Calgary won this deal?
    Calgary now has the worst contract in hockey. What a f’n Joke Treleving is. Just got schooled by Ken Holland!!