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:
#33 / Defenseman / Dallas Stars
Jul 30, 1985
|- Alex Goligoski||75||13||28||41||0||26||5||0||1||164||7.9|
And for the Pens
#18 / Left Wing / Pittsburgh Penguins
Sep 03, 1987
|2011 - James Neal||82||31||36||67||0||72||13||0||3||305||10.2|