The biggest news in the NHL this past week has been the one-for-one trade between the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. The deal sent Milan Lucic to Calgary and James Neal to the Oilers, both taking their terrible contracts and low numbers with them.
Surprisingly, this trade was actually a huge win for Edmonton. In the past, the Oilers have made some disastrous moves when trading one player for another. This time, however, new Oilers GM Ken Holland actually made a brilliant move shipping away Milan Lucic.
To put it harshly, Lucic and Neal were both terrible last season. Neal, in his first and only season with the Flames, put up just 19 points while Lucic put up 20 in his third season in Edmonton.
The two have more in common than just their low point totals from last season. Both are being drastically overpaid for their contributions. Lucic somehow earns $6 million a year while Neal brings in $5.75 million.
There's no real reason that the Flames should've traded for Milan Lucic. Although they clearly needed to get rid of James Neal, they essentially traded for a worse version of him that gets paid more.
The Flames and GM Brad Treliving clearly lost this deal. Lucic doesn't offer them much in the way of scoring help, and will chew up $6 million of their salary cap. Lucic and Neal are both far beyond their best years.
However, paired with some of the talent in Edmonton, Neal could actually have a decent season at 31 years old. Unlike Lucic, he is only one year removed from moderate success.