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