Skip to content

Penguins GM Rutherford wanted to ‘change the mix’ with Neal trade

Jun 27, 2014, 10:59 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals Getty Images

Jim Rutherford is beginning to put his stamp on the Pittsburgh Penguins as the new general manager. He started that by trading James Neal to the Nashville Predators for winger Patric Hornqvist and center Nick Spaling.

It was the biggest trade made during the actual draft, following a flurry of activity, particularly from the Vancouver Canucks earlier in the day.

“I think we were just trying to change the mix of our team a little bit and get a little different type player,” Rutherford told reporters in Philadelphia.

“Hornqvist plays with an edge, goes to the net, works the corners. We like his all-around play.”

A talented forward who has proven to be a scorer in the NHL – he put up a career-high 40 goals only two years ago – Neal has also dealt with injuries on numerous occasions, including concussions, and has run afoul of the league’s player safety department and, as a result, has received supplemental discipline.

His most recent transgression: kneeing Boston Bruins agitator Brad Marchand in the head in December, resulting in a five-game ban.

Rutherford was asked about whether the suspensions played a part in why Neal was traded.

“Everything comes into play when we’re looking at possibly moving a player,” he said.

Meanwhile, the other team is this trade, the Predators, not only land the scoring forward it coveted, but could be taking a shot at landing a center when free agency officially opens up.

That could certainly spark speculation the Predators could be eying pending unrestricted free agent Paul Stastny, who has confirmed he will test the market. Nashville’s club doesn’t appear to be alone in that pursuit.

On Thursday, there was a report from TSN’s Pierre LeBrun that as many as 15 teams had interest in the 28-year-old Stastny.

Stay tuned.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Further coaching hires expected for Sharks

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT

    Peter DeBoer Getty Images

    Former NHL stars are among the list of likely candidates.

  2. Habs’ Galchenyuk inks two-year extension

    Jul 30, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT

    Alex Galchenyuk Getty Images

    The deal is reportedly worth $5.6 million.

  3. Flames prospect Kylington cleared to play in North America

    Jul 30, 2015, 7:11 PM EDT

    Oliver Kylington Getty Images

    At one point he was listed as the top European skater in the 2015 draft.

  4. Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal

    Jul 30, 2015, 5:52 PM EDT

    Jakub Voracek Getty Images

    The Flyers also have forwards Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier locked up.

  5. Zubrus clears waivers, is ‘surprised’ by buyout

    Jul 30, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    Dainius Zubrus Getty Images

    The 37-year-old still wants to continue his career.

  6. Coyotes want long-term deal with Glendale

    Jul 30, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT

    PNI Coyotes Deal 0611 PNI Coyotes Deal 0611

    “Nobody benefits from a short-term deal like this, in particular, our hockey department.”

  7. Report: Canucks, Sutter closing in on five-year deal, north of $20M

    Jul 30, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game One Getty Images

    Vancouver wasting little time locking up the target of Tuesday’s trade.

  8. Bruins in talks with veteran d-man Zidlicky

    Jul 30, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings - Game Three Getty Images

    Boston could use some depth on its back end.

  9. Ex-NHLer Ling charged with battery, theft

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:50 AM EDT

    David Ling in action Getty Images

    Alleged incident involved a female victim.

  10. Jacobs feels firing Chiarelli was right move, cites cap management

    Jul 30, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Jeremy Jacobs Getty Images

    The former general manager “wasn’t prepared to make the changes that needed to be made.”

  11. Former NHL forward Berezin arrested for alleged fraud

    Jul 29, 2015, 10:40 PM EDT

    Sergei Berezin Getty Images

    He played in 502 games, primarily with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

  12. Coyotes sign German League standout goalie Treutle

    Jul 29, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT

    Niklas Treutle Getty Images

    The 24-year-old gives agreed to an entry-level deal.

  13. Shero: Buying out Zubrus creates flexibility to add forward

    Jul 29, 2015, 6:27 PM EDT

    Dainius Zubrus Getty Images

    “It really wasn’t about Dainius himself.”

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Stepan (2541)
  2. G. Bettman (1705)
  3. A. Larsson (1663)
  4. B. Holtby (1617)
  5. L. Couture (1573)
  1. J. Toews (1499)
  2. A. Chiasson (1375)
  3. M. Johansson (1308)
  4. A. Semin (1251)
  5. B. Gionta (1166)