The Pittsburgh Penguins made their first trade under general manager Jim Rutherford, and oh boy.
BREAKING: #Pens acquire Patric Hornqvist & Nick Spaling from @PredsNHL in exchange for James Neal.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) June 28, 2014
It's not a salary cap move, Neal made $5.0 million against the salary cap, Hornqvist alone makes $4.25 million.
What it is seems to be a move to shake up the team. Neal scored 184 points in 199 career games as a Penguin, including 168 points in the past three season when Evgeni Malkin has been healthy.
But Neal has also been involved in several bad hits that got him suspended and was rumored to be a "bad" dressing room guy with his attitude. He also scored only 4 points in 13 playoff games this season, though he played a lot of time without Malkin and not on the first power play unit.
On the bright side, the Pens get:
The 5-foot-11, 189-pound Hornqvist has appeared in 363 career regular-season games, scoring 106 goals, 110 assists and 216 points. His best season came in 2009-10 when he scored a career-high 30 goals.
Originally drafted by the Predators in the seventh round (230th overall) of the 2005 NHL Draft, the Sollentuna, Sweden product has represented his native country several times internationally at the World Championships and at the 2010 Olympics.
Spaling, 25, is coming off a career year this past season, recording 13 goals, 19 assists and 32 points in 71 games.
The 6-foot-1, 201-pound forward has played four-plus seasons with Nashville, registering 40 goals, 44 assists and 84 points in 297 career regular-season games, including an average of 10 goals per season the last four years.
Hornqvist should slot in as a first or second line winger, which is good, because now without Neal the Penguins only have Chris Kunitz and 35 year old Pascal Dupuis (8 months off an ACL/MCL surgery) as pure top six wingers, to possibly go along with possibly Beau Bennett, if he could stay healthy. Hornqvist is a capable and good player- he put up 22 goals and 31 assists with Nashville last year, some impressive numbers on a defensive minded team....But he's still not a 40 goal scorer like Neal.
Spalng is young and will provide some depth on the 3rd line.
A pretty stunning trade to shake things up. Will it help? We'll find out.