Trade: James Neal and Matt Niskanen traded from the Dallas Stars to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Alex Goligoski.
Pittsburgh: The Penguins finally get an offensive scoring winger to play with Sidney Crosby.
Neal is 6-2, power forward who has a great shot. Neal is playing in his third season and has scored 20+ goals in each of those seasons. This was suppose to be a breakout season for Neal; he is still on pace to set a career high in goals and match his career high in points but fantasy owners were hoping for a much bigger breakout.
Neal has the potential to be a 50-goal scorer. The Penguins will give Neal every opportunity with Crosby and if that doesn’t work out there is always Evgeni Malkin so it’s a win-win for Neal.
So much more was expected of Niskanen as he was drafted to be an offensive defenseman. He showed that ability in his first two seasons scoring 26 and 35 points but took a huge step backwards last season scoring 15 points and only has six points this season.
Niskanen is loaded with offensive skill and this change of scenery could rejuvenate his offensive game. Don’t expect big things from Niskanen to finish out this season but count on a return to 30 points next season. Niskanen has the potential to average 40-45 points a season.
Dallas: The Stars gave up on Neal pretty early in his career, which could come back to haunt them. Dallas instantly gets better on the back end as Goligoski is on pace for a career high 12 goals and 42 points.
The addition of Goligoski should cut into Stephane Robidas’s powerplay time, as Goligoski will be their No. 1 powerplay quarterback. Goligoski has played behind Sergei Gonchar and this was supposed to be his year to be the go-to guy but Kris Letang has broken out making Goligoski expandable.
This is his time to shine, as he will be the offensive guy for the Stars. Goligoski has the potential to score 50 points a season and career high potential of 60 points.
If Niskanen develops into an offensive defenseman then the Penguins lost nothing in Goligoski and basically got Neal for free. This could turn out to be a total lopsided deal for Pittsburgh.