According to a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Dallas Stars have traded winger James Neal and defenceman Matt Niskanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Alex Goligoski.
Goligoski had been the subject of trade rumours in recent weeks with San Jose being a potential fit if the Sharks were willing to part with Devin Setoguchi. Neal, in theory, fits the bill of the elusive scoring winger that Pittsburgh has been seeking to skate alongside either Evgeni Malkin and/or Sidney Crosby. Malkin is out for the season while Crosby’s status is still unclear as he recovers from a concussion, so it remains to be seen when Neal will get a chance to skate with either.
Neal scored 21-goals and registered 39-points in 59 games with Dallas, and has one more year left on his contract that pays him $2.875 million in 2011-12 (all figures via CapGeek). Matt Niskanen is probably best known among Penguins fans as the guy that Sidney Crosby trounced in a fight earlier this season on November 3rd. Niskanen had six points (all assists) in 45 games with Dallas, he also has one more year left on his current contract at a cap hit of $1.5 million.
The addition of Goligoski to the Stars makes a lot of sense as they’ve coveted a true offensive defenceman for some time. In 60 games with Pittsburgh Goligoski registered nine goals and 31-points and is just six points shy of his career high mark from 2009-10. He comes with a very cap friendly salary of $1.83 million that runs until the end of next season.
The knock on James Neal of late has been his inability to generate offence in the absence of Brad Richards. Still, a quick look at some peripherals on him and he has some added value. His Corsi rating of 8.1 is best among everyday forwards on the Stars. Goligoski certainly has some deficiencies in his game which, with an increased role in Dallas, could become much more apparent.
Ray Shero appears to have scored a nice return in exchange for Goligoski. A straight Neal-Goligoski trade would have seen both teams address some needs, but the addition of Niskanen certainly gives the edge to Pittsburgh on this one.
With data from BehindTheNet