Alex Goligoski for James Neal and Matt Niskanen trade one year later

On February 21st of last year, the PIttsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars swung a trade. Pittsburgh sent puck-moving defenseman Alex Goligoski to Dallas in exchance for forward James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen. Dallas, then in an ownership transition, wanted to shed some salary to focus on trying to sign Brad Richards to a contract and they lacked defensemen with Goligoski's skill set. Pittsburgh, ever in search of young forwards, like Neal's offensive potential and ability.

Tonight Neal and Niskanen return to Dallas for the first time since the trade, which makes for a good time to reflect back on the deal itself.

In the past year, both sides have seen some success, especially for the prinicpal pieces of the deal. Goligoski, usually a 5th or 6th defenseman in Pittsburgh, was quickly thrown into a top pairing role in Dallas and has done well to produce points and take on larger minutes. Neal struggled in his first season as a Pen, but is now amongst the league leaders in goals. Dallas rewarded Gologiski with a four year $18.4 million contract ($4.6mm against the salary cap). Neal recently signed a six year $30 million extension ($5m) with Pittsburgh.

Niskanen, for his part, has played well too. A former first round pick, Niskanen's play stagnated in Dallas but in PIttsburgh he's been able to re-gain some of his form and promise.

It's a rare trade where both sides have benefited and the deal has helped both teams with pieces they need and they can be happy with what they got out of the deal.

Here's a stat-line of the players with their new teams:


Alex Goligoski

#33 / Defenseman / Dallas Stars

5-11

180

Jul 30, 1985

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
- Alex Goligoski 75 13 28 41 0 26 5 0 1 164 7.9

And for the Pens


James Neal

#18 / Left Wing / Pittsburgh Penguins

6-2

208

Sep 03, 1987

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2011 - James Neal 82 31 36 67 0 72 13 0 3 305 10.2


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