Battle of Alberta Rivals Trade Hefty Contracts

Written by: Ryan Bristlon
Updated October 14, 2022
4 min read

The NHL’s Battle of Alberta got a little more interesting this week as the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers pulled off a trade between two underperforming players each signed to lucrative contracts. The Calgary Flames sent forward James Neal to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward Milan Lucic. Lucic was considered “immovable”, having four years left on his contract. The Oilers will retain a partial amount of Lucic’s salary and the Flames will still be paying him $5.25-million per season over the next four years. Neal also has four years remaining on his contract which will see him receive $6.5-million per season.

Who is James Neal?

James Neal was drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2008. He broke the Stars’ record for most goals scored by a rookie with 24 in 2009. At the 2011 trade deadline, Neal was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 2014, Neal was traded to the Nashville Predators. He played three seasons with the Preds and helped lead them to their first Stanley Cup finals appearance in in 2017. Prior to the 2017-18 season, Neal was selected in the expansion draft as part of the first ever roster for the Vegas Golden Knights. He reached the Stanley Cup finals once again with the new team. After that season, James Neal became an unrestricted free agent and signed a five-year, $28.75-million contract with the Calgary Flames. He mustered only 19 points in his first and only season with the team before the trade to Edmonton.

Who is Milan Lucic?

Milan Lucic joined the NHL in 2007, signing his first contract with the Boston Bruins. He played eight seasons with the Bruins which included a Stanley Cup victory in 2011. Lucic was traded at the NHL entry draft of 2015 to the Los Angeles Kings where he had a strong season, amassing 55 points. The next year, Lucic signed with the Edmonton Oilers as a free agent. His contract with Edmonton was worth $42-million across seven seasons. His first year was strong, scoring 50 points with the team but his production dropped to 34 points in his second season and only 20 points in his third. Lucic waived his no-movement clause in order to go to the Calgary Flames.

Odds to win the Cup

As of the time of writing, the Calgary Flames have the edge over their provincial rivals when it comes to next season’s Stanley Cup odds. The Flames are listed as a +1800 to raise Lord Stanley’s Cup at the end of next season while the Edmonton Oilers have been given a significantly lower chance at just +3500.

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Ryan Bristlon

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Ryan Bristlon is a Canadian writer currently residing in Hamilton, Ontario. He studied print and broadcast journalism at Humber College and has been a lifelong fan of hockey, the NHL in general, and UFC.
Nationality: Canadian
Education: Print and Broadcast Journalism
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