Skip to content

Trade: Penguins send Neal to Predators for Hornqvist and Spaling

Jun 27, 2014, 8:16 PM EDT

James Neal Getty Images

Predators general manager David Poile wanted to add a “big-time forward” to his roster. Today, he got one, acquiring winger James Neal from the Pittsburgh Penguins in return for winger Patric Hornqvist and center Nick Spaling.

Neal, 26, had 27 goals in 59 games last season. He scored a career-high 40 times in 2011-12. He’s signed through 2017-18, for a cap hit of $5 million.

Hornqvist had 22 goals in 76 games last season. His career best is 30, in 2009-10. The 27-year-old is signed through 2017-18 for a cap hit of $4.25 million.

Spaling is a 25-year-old restricted free agent who had 13 goals and 19 assists in 71 games last season.

While the Preds get a “big-time forward” to play in new coach Peter Laviolette’s up-tempo, offensive-oriented system, the Pens will be hoping they’ve added a scoring winger that hasn’t yet had the opportunity to play with centers like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They’ll also be happy to add Spaling, who should provide some much-needed forward depth.

  1. blackheart78 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    The only thing more shocking about James Neal being traded is that David Poile has finally realized you need to score goals to win games in the NHL. Good move. As a Flyers fan I will not miss Neal.

  2. steelcity333 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    Helps depth but hurts our scoring. Once again Malkin will have to work in two new wingers.

    • runhigh24 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      Malkin won the Conn Smythe with Max Talbot and Ruslan Fedotenko on his wings. He’ll manage.

    • puckoff70 - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:25 PM

      Pens needed to shake the apple cart to send a message. This was a good move.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:39 PM

      Reduces your man games lost to suspensions. As for Malkin losing a winger…

      Ummm…wait….

    • claysbar - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:03 AM

      This also give the “1A” line something it hasn’t had for a while and that’s a defensive forward. Hornqvist is gonna be Malkin’s Kunitz. He’s gonna get the mucker goals while actually playing both ways on the ice so when Geno falls down and is looking for his medic alert necklace while the play is half-way down the ice. Throw a decent number at Jokinen and hope he takes it. Then you have a pretty balanced top two lines. Run Sutter, Spaling and Bennett as the third line, put Spaling as the 4th line center if it doesn’t pan out. Should still give you enough to re-sign Glass and maybe sign a Thornton type guy for the other wing on the 4th and they would have a well rounded forward core.. Downside is, we are relying on the youth movement for the d-core after the money is spent on the forwards.

  3. Stiller43 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    So hornqvist is a year older, not as good, and costs basically the exact same?

    Spaling?…better come cheap.

    Neal pisses me off with how he plays, but im not too sure i like this at the moment…

    • elmerbrownelmerbrown - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      I cant believe they considered this trade breaking news during the draft ! They interrupted a mans moment in the sun to talk about this dbag ! And give credit to the draft host he even noticed the programming flaw and quickly shinned the light back on the draft pick ! Just another sign the NHL owns the Penguins big shocking news a plumber got trade from the pens ,,,,,,,who cares !

  4. runhigh24 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    Looks like the Penguins decided to downgrade in their top 6 at wing in order to bring a quality 3rd line winger in at an affordable rate. As for Nashville, they get a great shooter in Neal but he doesnt exactly create his own shot. Who’s gonna pass him the puck?

  5. 19to77 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    Not sure why the Pens swing this deal. If they resign Spaling they’ll actually have taken on cap space. Granted, depth is a thing they needed to add, but at the expense of a guy on pace for 37 goals last year and who has previously netted 40?

    On the other hand, Spaling could be a budget Sutter replacement, if Sutter’s looking for an unfeasible raise.

  6. bikeman99 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Good trade for both teams

  7. flyersfan85 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    LOL.. thanks for swinging low Nashville.. low character guy for your low cap team.

    Fair and fair.

    • flyersfan85 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:44 PM

      I know Im a Flyers fan.. thumbs down people.. regardless of what he says.. Because I know that everyone in Pittsburgh wasn’t saying trade him after their playoffs flameout.. now were they.. faqin hypocrites..

      • 6superbowls - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:13 PM

        Nobody really gives two sh@ts what you think as a Cryer troll.

  8. lordfletcher - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    I don’t see how Neal does well in Nashville. Nashville needs offense but up the middle more to me…

    all IMO

    • lordfletcher - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      additionally, I don’t get this trade for the Pens… could be the HH booze talking and maybe I need more time to think about it but its a head scratchier all the way around

      • i1theinternet - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:23 PM

        thumbs down for replying to your own comment.

  9. hockeyissweet - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    really? where did nashville get a “big-time forward”? all ive heard about is the james neal trade…

  10. blackheart78 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    Let’s be honest folks put me on a line with Malkin and/or Crosby and I’m scoring 40 goals. Surprised Neal wasn’t packaged for a defenseman. But as I said before good move.

  11. uncledick - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    Breaking: NHL has reopened all James Neal disciplinary cases, rumored to receive 40 gm suspension previously blocked by the Penguins clause.

    • blackheart78 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:32 PM

      @UNCLEDICK That made me laugh harder than a James Neal hit to the head. :)

      • uncledick - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:34 PM

        Seriously though, Preds just filled a big kneed…. Im here all week, folks.

      • blackheart78 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:38 PM

        @UNCLEDICK …again. Take my money now!!! hahahahaha

      • flyersfan85 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:46 PM

        Uncledick.. you are the man.. lots of Pens fans waiting for something to thumbs down.. as they aren’t capable of creating their own opinions..

  12. broadstreetbeatdown - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:27 PM

    Uh WTF?? Hey, I hate the Burgh’ but this seems like a horrible trade.

  13. hockeyornothing - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    Looks like Pens win on this one all the way around unless Neal can clean up his act. I think there’s something wrong in his head. Probably be in Lav’s dog house quick

  14. bwana63 - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    “Big time forward?” Stalberg, lol.

  15. bleedrangerblue - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    Didn’t expect this trade.

  16. pitpenguinsrulez - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    I’m not complaining here. I like Neal but his antics got old quickly. Plus he didn’t really produce in the playoffs aside from the Ottawa series last year the goal production come playoff time wasn’t there. If it wins us a cup no ones gonna cry.

  17. drewsylvania - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    Good. Get this clown out of the Eastern Conference.

  18. bleedrangerblue - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    A cup!!??? LOL

  19. sizzle299 - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    Does this mean Nashville won’t be taking Lecavalier?

  20. navyeoddavee9 - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    Seems like a wash, which will move to Pittsburgh’s favor if Spaling pans out

  21. nhstateline - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    This makes Pittsburgh grittier and, from the Bruins perspective, harder to play against and adds gritty depth. Both of these are pretty good players. And so is James Neal. Nashville is very gritty but can use a little more skill. Neal is a good fit for them. Both teams get useful players and Nashville probably gets to the cap floor if I had to guess.

  22. c9castine - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    Wtf??? Is this a real trade???

    • c9castine - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:30 AM

      the more i think about it, not so bad.

      i was all for a Neal trade as I do not see him as necessary, dont like his disposition, his style of play, and I think he contributed to a somewhat dysfunctional vibe in the locker room.

      i like Honrqvist. Spaling I admit I don’t know much but after taking a look at him I feel like hes the new 4th line center who will come in roughly the same price as marcel goc, maybe a tad cheaper. obviously, hell have to accept the qualifying offer but i dont see that being an issue.

      i was hoping for a bit more cap space as hornvist’s 4.25 is not much less than neals 5, and both have a few years remaining at least…but ill take what little it affords and hope there is more to be done.

      i still feel martin will be traded.

  23. hockey412 - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Awesome, awesome trade for the Pens.

  24. blackandorangeforlife - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    As a Flyers fan i hate this trade!

  25. bikeman99 - Jun 28, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    Hornqvist will score more goals than Neal this season

    • pj608 - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:23 AM

      Yeah, well he should. It wont be because hornqvist is better than neal. It will be because the Penguins are stacked with offense and Nashville has Neal…. and that about sums up their greatest offensive threat other than maybe stalberg webber and jones. Great trade for Nashville…. and neal will fit their system. Power forward, not the fastest but can shoot the puck very well.

      • givens43 - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:23 PM

        Sorry, the stupidity of your comment forced me to respond. Stalberg was absolutely horrible last year, Weber (with one B) led our team in offense last year, he’s the only guy out of the 3 you named that did something to contribute, and Jones is a defenseman who only played one year and didn’t contribute much offensively at all. I’m not sure if you’re a typical Penguins fan who doesn’t actually follow any hockey except maybe watching a Pittsburgh game here and there, but Craig Smith had more points than Stalberg and Jones and so did many other players on our team. Smith actually was up there with Weber in leading the team in goals. So I’m glad you can name an entire 3 players from Nashville, but your comment was ridiculously stupid. And how does a slow power forward fit into Nashville’s system? Smith, Bourque, when we had Legwand, Stalberg. These are very fast players that we have. Sorry, but learn about hockey before commenting on a hockey article.

  26. pj608 - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Giving that Neal and Malkin had just as much Chemistry as Crosby and (BJ) Kunitz. I think this was a dumb move for Pit. Think Nashville got a good player, something they needed for a long while.

  27. valoisvipers - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    I can’t believe the Pens couldn’t get a better deal than this. Big loss for the Pens and Malkin in particular as he and Neal were quite the dynamic duo. I think this has Mario’s finger prints all over it.

  28. onemorematt - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:13 AM

    After giving this a day to get over my initial gut feeling this wasn’t the best move, I’m still not happy about this.

    I get the ‘team needs a shake up’ or ‘neal is to caustic’ mindsets. However, I’m skeptical that this was the best return we could get for him.

  29. givens43 - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    I’m a Preds fan (yup, I know) and I think that the Penguin fans who are saying that Hornqvist isn’t nearly as good as Neal aren’t exactly right. Of course Neal has done better so far, but then again he’s been on an excellent offensive juggernaut of a team. Horny hasn’t had ridiculous numbers in Nashville, but who does? What the Penguins are getting is one of the best net presences in the league in Horny and a player who’s trending upward recently in Spalsy. I’m not sure what the Penguins needed, but if they wanted a tough two-way forward who gets a lot of hard-fought goals by planting himself in front of the net, then they got it. As for Spaling, not a great player, but he did have his best season so far last year, so there is upside. Personally, not a huge fan of Neal as his personality is awful and even on an offensive team like Pittsburgh, he didn’t shine as brightly as players who were working on the second lines of much worse teams (Let’s just look at the Tampa Bay rookies as evidence of that). Neal might be a scorer, but he won’t do much in Nashville. If we found a way to get Legwand back or get another speedy playmaker, then maybe he’ll produce, but until then, just a terrible trade.

    As a Predators fan, I think that we could’ve done a lot better than Neal, especially because since Holmstrom’s retirement from the league, Horny has been the toughest fighter in front of the net, easily. It’s not that Neal is bad, he’s just not good enough to get 60 points on a line by himself like Legwand would do and like Sullivan used to be able to do.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches