Penguins fans will love James Neal as much as they will miss Goligoski – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins fans will love James Neal as much as they will miss Goligoski

Today, Ray Shero pulled off another trade that is being touted by Dallas fans as highway robbery.  The Penguins sent crowd favorite defenseman, Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars for Left Winger, James Neal and Defenseman, Matt Niskanen.  Stars’ fans are already crying that they wouldn’t have taken Goligoski straight up for Neal and yet, somehow, Trader Ray got them to throw in Niskanen, who Penguins fans should remember from his near forgettable fight with Sidney Crosby back in November.Neal, who has 21 goals and 39 points in 59 games this year instantly becomes the Penguins leading goal scorer among active players.  He has the potential, I believe, to score between 40 and 50 in a year skating with a healthy Crosby.  He has a little bit of grit in his game as evidenced by his 60 penalty minutes, and he is definitely not afraid to shoot the puck having already accumulated 160 shots on goal.

As Krundle has said repeatedly during the run up to this trade, moving Goligoski could be a huge mistake as it would leave the Penguins with two rookie defensemen in their top six going into the playoffs, something I’m sure none of us wanted to do.  Well, apparently, neither did  Ray Shero.  He addressed this concern by getting Dallas to also include Matt Niskanen which should allay all of those fears.  Niskanen has never been known for having the offensive prowess that Goligoski does, but with Letang and Martin, the Penguins were covered in that department especially as the Penguins liked to occasionally employ four forwards on the Power Play.  Niskanen brings a good, steady stay at home presence, and is only a -1 which isn’t too bad.

The best news of the entire trade is that both Neal and Niskanen are signed at reasonable salaries for next season as well, Neal at $2.9, and Niskanen at $1.5.  I’m sure this will spell the end for at least one of the Penguins’ current forwards who are UFAs at the end of the season.

I know I for one will miss Goose, and would like to take this opportunity to thank him on behalf of all Penguin fans for his time and service here and for all he contributed to our two Cup Finals teams, but you have to give something to get something, and the Penguins were able to trade from a position of strength to fix a big weakness.

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  1. February 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I’ll miss the goose….good luck to you!! (Except for when we’re playing the Stars! 😉

  2. hollyh's Gravatar hollyh
    February 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I would have traded Letang, dumped more salary and lost a guy with 4% scoring percentage and got most of his points on second assists when Crosby was playing. But he does get great reviews fro Pens TV game callers.

    • SK's Gravatar SK
      February 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      I hope that post was intended to be written in sarcasm font.

  3. ryan's Gravatar ryan
    February 22, 2011 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    If we are bringing in Depres next season the loss of gogo is easier to take.

  4. BRS's Gravatar BRS
    February 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m still waiting to see this imaginary offensive ability that everyone claims Martin has. With all the PP time he has, what does he have, 3 goals? This Niskanen has had better goal scoring years and better overall point years and he’s only in his fourth year. I hope losing Goligoski’s ability to move the puck out of our own end doesn’t come back to bite us in the ass.

  5. Ebon's Gravatar Ebon
    February 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I agree. Great move.

  6. February 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Trust me, you will love it

  7. Johnny Nez's Gravatar Johnny Nez
    February 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Huge fan of Neal, huge fan of Crosby. But I wouldn’t expect Neal’s numbers to improve much, if at all, between Dallas and Pittsburgh. Crosby’s the greatest player in the world, but he does not have a Lemieux-like ability to elevate his linesmates. Hossa, a better talent than Neal and Crosby’s best winger to date, produced the same with Crosby as he did elsewhere, about a point per game. Love the trade – Niskanen to replace Goligoski was the huge key – but I think we need to temper our expectations for Neal. He should put up 25-30 goals and 65-70 points a year, and that’s pretty darned good.

  8. February 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Don’t know how I feel about this trade.

    • Johnny Nez's Gravatar Johnny Nez
      February 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Debby, you’re gonna LOVE Neal, and Niskanen should be a solid but unspectacular replacement for Goligoski on the 3rd D pairing. I wish Goose the best, but Shero couldn’t pass this deal up. He sold high… very high.

      • makoman's Gravatar makoman
        March 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        I am a big Goose fan…..BUT you could not pass this one up…a young power forward of Neal’s ability and a very serviceable #5 Dman both signed for reasonable numbers…..take that all day, but do wish Goose the best in big D.

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