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Video: Behind the scenes of the James Neal trade

Jul 4, 2014, 9:35 PM EDT

It was the biggest trade at the actual NHL Draft – the Nashville Predators picking up scoring forward James Neal from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins, led by new general manager Jim Rutherford, were looking to change things up. The Predators, well they get someone capable of scoring, having put up a career-high 40 goals only two years ago, but with a reputation, having been suspended three times in his young career. Neal has acknowledged that he, too, needs to change for the better.

It’s an interesting look into how the deal, which included winger Patric Hornqvist and center Nick Spaling. going back to Pittsburgh, came about.

Although, according to The Denver Post, the Penguins were also talking to the Colorado Avalanche.

From The Denver Post:

The interesting part for Avs fans: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is shown telling Poile that he “has a deal for No. 23″ in his back pocket already, but that he might re-arrange things if the deal with Nashville goes through. The holder of the No. 23 pick at the draft? That would be the Colorado Avalanche.

So, it’s clear that the Avs were talking trade with the Penguins at the draft before the Avs wound up keeping the No. 23 pick and the Preds did their deal with Rutherford.

Oh, those draft-day deals. A lot of the wheeling and dealing on that day was done by the Vancouver Canucks, although as it pertains to the Neal trade, things could’ve been very different for Pittsburgh, Nashville and Colorado.

  1. runhigh24 - Jul 5, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    One has to wonder who the Pens were offering up for the no. 23 pick. None of their young defense prospects save Pouliot who they werent gonna trade would fetch that return. I would guess Paul Martin but that was before they knew they’d be getting Erhoff. Unless the plan was to trade Martin and resign Niskanen.

    • pdmjr - Jul 5, 2014 at 8:33 AM

      They were never in favor of signing Niskanen and told him that June 29th. Niskanen’s style didn’t mesh with the new Johnston system

    • lightning79 - Jul 6, 2014 at 2:34 AM

      It had to a be a young Dmen. Something like Simon Despres and a 2nd/3rd round pick?

  2. lordfletcher - Jul 5, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    cool video, wished there were more, especially if every team made a 5 minute short.

    Can’t hate on what Nashville did here at all but that’s a very tough deal to turn down but when you like your guy, I am all for doing whatever it takes to get him. I think I would have moved the 11 for the 22 and 23 as I am all for having multiple 1st rd picks.

  3. pj608 - Jul 5, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    Wish they had one of last year when Lamoriello acquired Cory Schnieder….

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