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Interesting parallels between Seguin, Neal trades

Jul 2, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins - Game Three Getty Images

Every now and then, a move seems oddly familiar, even if different teams are involved. One could make the argument that there are some interesting/amusing/possibly inane parallels between the trade that sent Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars in 2013 and the move that shipped James Neal to the Nashville Predators in 2014.

(Feel free to disagree with any of these comparisons in the comments, though hopefully without weird anger.)

A) Seguin and Neal

There are some parallels between the players themselves, beyond the fact that both have been paid by the Stars at some point in their NHL careers.

1. Both drew vague criticisms about their attitudes

Seguin (now just 22, somehow) received some heat for supposed partying and other issues. Neal, 26, has had more than a few run-ins with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. One might assume such “character” concerns expedited their departures from Boston and Pittsburgh respectively.

MORE: Neal: “I have to change and be better for it”

2. Each leave East contenders that may still be competitive without them

The Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy last season. For all the turmoil in the Penguins’ organization, many would probably argue that they’re a contender for the Metropolitan Division title, if not aiming higher.

3. Higher ceilings

However you might feel about the packages the Bruins and Penguins received, most would agree that Seguin and Neal probably have more “upside.” Actually, you’d have to strain quite a bit to claim that Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith or Matt Fraser have higher ceilings than Seguin after he jumped another level with Dallas.

Seguin is quite a bit younger and probably creates more offense on his own, yet it’s easy to forget how dangerous Neal can be; not many 26-year-old’s boast a resume that includes one 40-goal season and five other 20+ goal seasons.

4. Disappointing finishes

Despite solid playoff runs, both went out of town struggling individually in the postseason. Neal only managed two goals and four points in 13 playoff games in 2014 after scoring 10 in 13 playoff games in 2013. Seguin only scored one goal and eight points in Boston’s 22-game run to the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

5. Cheap deals

Seguin’s $5.75 million cap hit puts him alongside the likes of John Tavares and Victor Hedman as one of the best bargains in the NHL, especially since that deal doesn’t expire until after the 2018-19. Neal isn’t far behind with a $5 million cap hit through 2017-18.

B) Solid Swedes and prospects

The Bruins and Penguins received nice packages for their young forwards, fueling more than a few quantity-over-quality arguments.

Eriksson suffered a rough season in 2013-14, yet the Bruins think he can slide into a first-line role next season. Much like Eriksson, Hornqvist is a very nice player who often gets lost in the shuffle.

He quietly scores plenty of goals, and people are reasonable if they picture him generating even more offense playing in Pittsburgh than he did in Nashville. Hornqvist has one 30-goal season and three 20+ goal seasons, including a 22-goal, 53-point campaign with the Preds in 2013-14.

In other words, the Penguins didn’t exactly get chopped liver, especially if Nick Spaling helps out in solid ways like Reilly Smith has for Boston.

C) Random stuff

  • Both Neal and Seguin relocate to “nontraditional” markets with no state income taxes, which probably makes them feel a little better about the bargain deals they’re signed to.
  • Neal and Seguin are basically “new toys” for incoming new head coaches.
  • Each could represent the beginning of a big change. Seguin’s acquisition preceded the Spezza – Hemsky additions in Dallas while Nashville GM David Poile seems keen on adding more to the mix with his team.

***

There are plenty of ways these two deals aren’t alike. For one thing, Neal must prove that he can produce without an elite passer making life easy for him; few wingers get blessed with a center group that included Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Brad Richards (at or near his peak).

Even so, it’s interesting to ponder the parallels between the two moves. If you’re a fan of the Predators, you may also start to expect too much …

  1. anthj99 - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    There’s a lot of words here, but all I’m reading is blah, blah, blah, poop, fart.

    • James O'Brien - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:21 PM

      Thanks!

      • mangoman1966 - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        Very informative article.

      • c9castine - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:59 PM

        You bored man?hard to believe a lot has happened in the past couple days.

      • patthehockeyfan - Jul 3, 2014 at 8:11 AM

        I was initially perplexed; however, I think this is what O’Brien meant when he wrote above: “weird anger.”

        Perhaps anthj99 has a comprehension issue?

    • darksidecowboy - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      I assume you might be a Pens or Bruins fan, little disgruntled my man?

  2. claudegirwho - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    Neal is a great finisher can’t do much else. Who’s gonna skate the d in circles for Neal to sit of to the side un noticed.

    • hockey412 - Jul 3, 2014 at 8:30 AM

      True, true. Neal doesn’t have anywhere near the skating ability or skill that Seguin does, OR anywhere near the ability to be much more than a $5M sniper. He also lacks the drive to go to the net. His perimeter play causes him to disappear in the playoffs, too. I hear good things about both Hornqvist and Spaling.

  3. trom09 - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    Stars fan here so I’m biased- I can see some similarities, but you’re comparing a 21 year old who was traded for being young and immature, and a 26 year old headhunter who continues to level players with cheap shots.

    How old does Neal have to get, before people just look at him as another Matt Cooke? Well I guess he’s already well on the way there- hopefully for the league’s sake he does change.

    • rmccleary97 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      You mean “rich man’s Matt Cooke.” Cooke has never even hit 20 goals in a season (high of 19 in the ’11-12 season) and only topped 40 points once (’02-03 with Vancouver). Otherwise, yeah – between his cheap-shot tactics and his diving, he’s not helping his reputation around the league any.

      We’re going to get a really good idea of what Neal can do without a premier center this season (unless the Predators magically conjure one up). If he doesn’t put up decent numbers (25-30-55), people are going to start asking how much of it is him and how much of it is guys he was playing with.

  4. dropthepuckeh - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    “Supposed partying”? Was there any question he was partying a lot? I think the question was whether it affected his game.

    I think you could randomly pick any two names out of a hat from players traded in the last year and find more similarities than the dribble in this article. Not shocking too think a player would be traded if their organization has lost faith in their character.

    I hoped we were going to learn Neal had a penchant for all nighters during the playoffs….

  5. chrisk61 - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    boy what a dumb premise. seguin is a young sniper who could mature into one of the best offensive players in the league. neal is older, and while he has some offensive talent, is nowhere near an elite offensive player. and he played with crosby and malkin. his numbers in pitt should have been off the charts.

    he was traded because pens mgt thinks the crosby and malkin linemates should have very solid offensive production. neal started out well but fizzled.

    on a different topic, it will be amusing to see how the niskanen – less and orpik – less pens do. they are blind if they can’t see the problems are crosby and fleury.

    • brettspath11 - Jul 4, 2014 at 4:04 AM

      Yeah buddy, crosby is such a problem that all teams would give up their entire draft for two years to trade for him

  6. clavette - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    reilly smith was terrific for the bruins in the seguin trade and most likely will outperform eriksson again this season

    eriksson is just too fragile and constantly gets out muscled to the puck. im certainly hoping he bulks up some this offseason and has a better all around year.

    • daoust19 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      Eriksson is much better than you’re giving him credit for. He is smart, and responsible, and has more skill than he showed this season. Bruins fans will see.

      If you don’t want him, we’ll take him and Joe Morrow back.

  7. puckluckpost - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    Seguin is lucky to have Benn by his side. He is not a leader, much like Joe Thornton.

    • dropthepuckeh - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      I’d take Joe over Seguin (at same age) any day of the week.

  8. c9castine - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:44 AM

    all i got out of this was a swedish guy was involved in both trades

    • anthj99 - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      My thoughts exactly. If there was a point, I missed it.

  9. adamdep211rukus211 - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    Yea, I guarantee Neal doesn’t produce 40 goals without Sid or Geno. He won’t be able to cherry pick as much either. I think hornqvist will help along, especially playing in the bad areas. Pens PP could be deadly with sid,Geno,Hornqvist ehroff and letang. I think hornqvist is under rated coming from a bad team. Playing with the pens he should produce a while lot more… Getting pumped to see the new pens. Let’s not forget spaling either,who is another player who likes to play the so called hard areas of the corners and front of the net.

    • c9castine - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      id love to see a play where neal is cherry picking.

      actually id be surprised if you can even show me a breakway goal from james neal. ive seen one against the islanders and it wasnt so much a breakaway as he outskated a defender to a loose puck and buried a quick wrister.

      some people talk directly form their asss. with no basis for what they say.

      ill bet he scores 35 but if you think anybodys production wouldnt slip going from evgeni malkin to mike fisher or whoever they got down there, your ridiculous.

      i am excited about this lineup more just the makeup of the team than the individual players though.

  10. darksidecowboy - Jul 3, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Seguin made Benn bring his game to another level and they feed off each other. That alone was worth it. Now best buds, they’re the best one-two punch in the league.

    • c9castine - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      getzlaf perry, kane toews, crosby malkin. they are good but theres more out there to see.

  11. vapor54 - Jul 3, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    Bruins were stupid to trade Seguin. He may have partied a bit but he gave max effort on the ice–still does.

  12. jaywp388 - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    As a bruins fan it would be nice to hang on to a player who is a pure goal scorer and not necessarily a strong two way player. Having a Phil Kessel or a Tyler Seguin certainly would of helped in last years playoffs when our offense was anaemic at best…..And hearing that Cherelli is happy with where the team is after only winning the presidents cup last year then getting bumped out by MONTREAL turns my stomach

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