Penguins Trade James Neal to Predators.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have dealt James Neal to the Nashville Predators for forward Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. 

James Neal dealt to Predators.

James Neal dealt to Predators.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first move by new Ptenguins GM Jim Rutherford is a doozy, and as expected it involved Neal, who lacks a movement clause for this year in his contract. A reliable scoring winger who tallied 40 points two years ago, Neal should provide a significant boost of offense and grit that was lacking to the Predators scoring lines in recent years. He’ll be going to a club with less scoring depth, but he was also a reliable scorer during his early years with the Dallas Stars.

As for the Penguins, they’re getting a steady if unspectacular right wing, who should be an interesting fit in Pittsburgh. He tallied 53 points last season with the Predators and should be a more disciplined replacement for the aggressive Neal. Spaling is a good checking-line forward who should replace the departing Jussi Jokinen. 


  1. Speechless…….been a while since Pittsburgh went the “bankruptcy” route back in the 90’s. I really having a hard time seeing this trade at all.

  2. I get the shed some money for cap space..but the Pen’s have two clowns on defense in Kris “Overated” Letang and “Stand still” Scuderi at $10 million and they move one winger that scores with Geno?? WTF??
    I don’t get it, I think the upper mangement including Mario are starting to make this a GONG show

  3. The reaction from Pens fans is a head scratcher on this one, I am not sure if people have taken the time to really look at this deal.

    Hornqvist is a solid offensive talent, puts up 20+ goals and around 50 points every season with no real supporting cast. But he also brings a strong work ethic and responsible two-way game to the table. Alongside Crosby or Malkin, this guy will be a 30 goal guy who plays a much more complete game then James Neal. Spaling, isn’t an offensive dynamo, a guy who will get you 30+ points, but will play hard in his own zone and physical on the ice. This was about making the Penguins a deeper overall team that could play better in their own end, while saving some overall cap space. I promise you Penguins fans won’t regret this move.

    • This makes the Penguins a harder team to play against come the playoffs. I agree Hornqvist could be a 30 goal guy with Crosby or Malkin. For years the Pens were not looking big picture I think it’s starting to happen now.

    • In addition I’d like to add that this might be a case of addition by subtraction. I don’t follow the Pens too closely but friends who do say that the other players and management were getting annoyed by Neal’s undisciplined antics. And the fact that he disappeared in the playoffs didn’t help either.

  4. this is a Pens fan that really likes the deal … Neal is an incredible sniper and perimeter scorer, but the Pens have those. Hornqvist will get his goals specifically in the dirty areas (which is especially important come playoff time) and be a far better two-way player. Don’t discount the Geno factor (both ways) with Neal and Hornqvist – Neal wasn’t even as effective with Crosby as he was with Geno, so it will a lot for Nashville to expect Neal to ring up another 40 – even in Lavy’s system. Getting Spaling already makes bottom 6 better. Expect the Pens to sign Kulemin on July 1 to fill Geno’s other wing.

  5. Solid move. Neal was a non-factor against the Rangers.

  6. Bitter sweet as a Preds fan. I’ve always loved Hornqvist and Spaling, they’ve fit the Nashville mantra through the Trotz era. I think Spaling is undervalued by the Pens fans probably, he can be downright shutdown defensively. I was looking forward to seeing Hornqvist take another step forward with Laviolette taking over, but think he’s got his best seasons ahead of him with a huge supporting cast around him.

    This is the things press fans are always dreaming about, getting a top six forward. I’ll be interested to see how the top lines will fall together with Neal, especially with a new system in place.

    Is it hockey season yet?

  7. Well for those that hate the penguins, here you go, the beginning of the end. Pens got hosed on this deal. Didn’t get younger didn’t save money and got absolutely nothing for the only player that shot the puck. Hornqvist is unproven at the same age as Neal and did less in his career. People are claiming 30 goals at best, well Neal is 40 at best. And Spaling is a dime a dozen one hit wonder. Personally the pens could find countless players like him in free agency and for way less money and way younger. Pens completely hosed.