The deal is done. The Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers have made their third trade in franchise history, swapping James Neal to Edmonton and sending Milan Lucic and a conditional 2020 third round selection to the Flames.
Here’s how the deal breaks down:
- To Edmonton: James Neal (and the remaining four seasons of his contract with a $5.75 million AAV)
- To Calgary: Milan Lucic (and the remaining four seasons of his contract with 12.5% retained, for a $5.25 million AAV) and a conditional 2020 third round selection. The Oilers retain $750,000 of Lucic’s cap hit per season.
Neal can be traded freely, but Lucic had to waive his no-move clause to head to Calgary. He’ll wear #17 for the Flames. Barring the Flames and Lucic working something out that wipes the NMC out entirely, Lucic will retain that clause for the duration of his time in Calgary – which will have impacts on the Seattle expansion draft in two years.
Neal, 31, never really fit in Calgary. He lost his presumed first line spot to Elias Lindholm in camp and ended up sliding down the depth chart, settling on the third line and eventually ending up as a healthy scratch in the playoffs. He had a 4% shooting percentage during the season – which indicates that he might bounce back in Edmonton – but he didn’t bring the “hard to play against” grit that the Flames thought they were getting when they signed him. He gets a fresh start in Edmonton on a much shallower forward group.
Lucic, 31, is a complementary player. He’ll be paid slightly more by the Flames than Mikael Backlund, but he’ll be expected to be a physical presence – crashing and banging in the bottom six in limited usage at five-on-five and crowding the net on the power play. He’s not a complete player and the wear and tear caused by his playing style has seen him slow down of late, but the Flames are hoping he can make up for the lost physicality that the departed Garnet Hathaway brought.