Believe it or not, the first round of the 2014 NHL draft was rather timid, although three trades still managed to shake things up and ship one recognizable face from a contender to a team in need.
No, the Florida Panthers did not deal the No. 1 overall pick, but the agreements that did go down will have an impact on the league for years to come.
Saturday presents even more opportunities for trades as the draft works its way through six more rounds of action, but let's take the time to break down Friday's deals, as their importance cannot be overstated.
Pittsburgh Ships Off James Neal
Before any actual picks got dealt on Friday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins used the stage in Philadelphia to announce that James Neal was the first player to be disciplined for the team's struggles in the postseason.
The Nashville Predators broke the news on Twitter:
It's a strange deal for Nashville, to say the least. Neal had two goals and assists in 13 playoff games, but in his last six, he registered 24 penalty minutes and no goals. His numbers, while nice, were inflated while playing next to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin:
|James Neal 2013-14 Stats|
Neal is due $5 million in each of the next three seasons, so Nashville better hope he can stay out of the penalty box and stick to form despite a change of scenery.
Forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling do some interesting things for the Penguins in their slight rebuild. Namely, the former gets a chance to go for 30 or more goals next to Crosby and Malkin (he hit 30 once back in 2009-10), while the latter gives the team some serious attitude on the back end.
It's not a lopsided deal by any means, but Nashville seems to have taken the bigger risk.
New York Islanders Give Up Haul to Jump Up
Give credit where it is due—the New York Islanders saw something they wanted and went out and got it:
The haul for the Tampa Bay Lightning is quite obvious. After nabbing Anthony DeAngelo at No. 19 overall, the front office lit up over New York's offer and had no qualms about pulling the trigger.
But again, the Islanders were content with the price and were able to land highly regarded prospect Joshua Ho-Sang of Windsor (OHL). In 2013-14 at 18 years of age with the Spitfires, he had 32 goals and 85 points.
The only negative? He has been criticized about his attitude, which is neatly hinted at by Steve Simmons of The Toronto Sun:
We're a ways out from seeing if the high-risk, high-reward element of Ho-Sang's game pays off, not to mention seeing how the Lightning prosper from the deal. It may prove a critical point in this modern era for both teams in hindsight.
Chicago Blackhawks Strike a Deal with San Jose Sharks
The Chicago Blackhawks thought highly enough of Green Bay product Nick Schmaltz to sacrifice the No. 62 pick in the draft to move up in a deal with the San Jose Sharks:
Fans may not be thrilled with the team giving up future assets to move up just seven spots in the proceedings, but count Schmaltz as one who was ecstatic about the move, as captured by Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago:
The Sharks went on to grab Nikolay Goldobin after trading down, but the focal point for obvious reasons remains on Schmaltz, the youngster saddled with expectations now that Chicago gave up additional resources to get him.
He registered 63 points in 55 USHL contests and has great all-around offensive skills that include superb stickhandling, passing and shooting. Few excuses exist for him, as he'll have the chance to learn from Patrick Kane in Chicago. No pressure.