73

Monday Mailbag – Who won the Lucic for Neal trade?

Hello, hello! Welcome, my friends, to another edition of the mailbag where I’ve taken your questions and turned them into a little bit of free learnin’ on a Monday morning. This week, we look at the question that everyone seems to be asking about: who won the Milan Lucic for James Neal trade? If you want in on next week’s mailbag, just fire me an email at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Until then, I encourage you to sit back, relax, and waste a few minutes of company time. Have a good week, everybody.

Apr 11, 2019; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing James Neal (18) during the face off against the Colorado Avalanche during the third period in game one of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

1) Craig asks – What were your first thoughts on the Lucic for Neal trade? Do you see a clear winner in the deal?

Jason Gregor:

The Oilers needed another top-six scorer. Neal has a much better track record of scoring goals than Lucic. He fills a big hole in Edmonton that I don’t think Lucic was capable of filling.

Robin Brownlee:

The clear winner in terms of the contracts is Edmonton. Not close. How it unfolds on the ice, we have to see. In those terms, I can see the swap helping both teams.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

My first thoughts were “NO F***ING WAY!” and my second thoughts were “Ken Holland robbed them!”. Oilers are clear winners. It’s as simple as that.

Christian Pagnani:

The Oilers actually win a trade. I was shocked and assumed the pick was at least a second. I thought they had to have retained a million, but both draft pick and salary retained are negligible.

Baggedmilk:

I still can’t believe it happened tbh. A clear win for the Oilers.

Apr 6, 2019; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing James Neal (18) screens in front of Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen (19) during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

2) Stephanie asks – I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a conditional pick quite like the one attached to the Lucic/Neal trade (Neal has to get 21+ goals and 10 more than Lucic) and I’d like to know everyone’s guess about whether or not they think Calgary will get the pick?

Jason Gregor:

I’ve never seen anything like that. I think Neal will score 21 goals, probably a few more. If Neal scores 26 goals I think Calgary will get the pick for sure. I could see Lucic scoring 11-15 goals in Calgary.

Robin Brownlee:

I think Calgary will get the pick because I see Neal getting 21-plus and I don’t see Milan hitting double digits.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I think they will get the pick, but it will be close. My personal over/under for James Neal is 20.5 goals and my number for Lucic is 9.5 goals. If Neal gets time on the top powerplay unit and clicks with Connor McDavid, I think he’ll crush the 20 goal mark. If he’s on the second line with Nugent-Hopkins and isn’t on the top PP unit, then it will be close. I have faith in a bounceback for Neal though, which is why I’m saying the Flames will get the pick.

Christian Pagnani:

I’m not sure I have either. I think Calgary just missed out on the pick. Lucic gets something like 6 goals and Neal gets 15.

Baggedmilk:

It definitely is a weird conditional pick, but I also think that if the Oilers have to pay up then they won’t really care because it’ll mean Neal is filling the net.

3) Stephen asks – With Lucic being traded, the Oilers now have an open spot for a player to wear an “A” on their jersey. Who do you think they will give it to?

Jason Gregor:

They rotated it through a few players last year. Maybe they add no one and just keep it on RNH and Larsson. If they want to add in another player, I’d guess it would be Draisaitl. But I don’t think they have to. I’m not a huge fan of multiple Associate Captains.

Robin Brownlee:

I’d be fine with Draisaitl or Nurse.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I remember listening to Ken Hitchcock on The Bob McCown Show when Ken Holland was hired and he mentioned how players like Darnell Nurse, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Leon Draisaitl are hungry to become bigger leaders and he felt like he saw that last season in his time behind the bench. One of Nurse or Draisaitl will get it and I don’t have a preference or an opinion beyond that simply because I’m not in the room.

Christian Pagnani:

I don’t know how much this stuff really matters, but I won’t be surprised if it’s Darnell Nurse.

Baggedmilk:

Easy. Leon will get it.

4) Greg asks – Now that the big trade is done, do you think Ken Holland is finished reshaping the roster for the summer or do you believe there is more coming?

Jason Gregor:

He is still looking for a possible 3C…And of course the status of Jesse Puljujarvi. He is in no rush to trade him. If a good deal is there he will make the deal, and teams have expressed interest. We see more trades in September than we do in August usually, so I think the Puljujarvi trade talk among other teams might pick back up in September.

Robin Brownlee:

No, he’s not finished. Can still use a third-line centre and a winger.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I think he’ll look at adding a cheap 3C option, maybe even on a PTO, but that will be about it. He’s tight for cap space and I don’t think he wants to trade Kris Russell or Sam Gagner so there really isn’t an option for him to make more space either. A cheap third-line centre and maybe he makes a move with Jesse Puljujarvi, but that’s it.

Christian Pagnani:

I don’t think there’s much more. Maybe a Jesse Puljujarvi trade for a draft pick or middle-six forward, it feels like that would have been completed by now if it was possible. The activity period for roster movement is basically over so this seems like the roster barring a few PTOs.

Baggedmilk:

I think there will be some PTOs closer to camp and I also think that Jesse Puljujarvi will be back with the Oilers. Now watch him get traded before this gets posted on Monday morning.

5) Vetinari asks – Puckpedia has the Edmonton Oilers at about $2.538M below the salary cap as of July 25th—how would you spend that if you could add one player (UFA/trade) before training camp or would you bank it instead based on what’s out there now?

Jason Gregor:

Derick Brassard on a one-year deal worth $2 million.

Robin Brownlee:

Trade, but no rush on that right now. No UFA’s remaining that are worth an overpay.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Well, if you go out and sign a 3C, you can probably waive Kyle Brodziak and create an extra $1 million in space. But still, you need to be mindful of a bonus for Mike Smith and maybe even ELC bonuses for someone like Evan Bouchard or Tyler Benson. With all of that considered, I think Ken Holland will stay quiet for the rest of the summer and bring in a player or two on a PTO before camp.

Christian Pagnani:

I’d try and move Kris Russell and use that money on another forward, winger or centre.

Baggedmilk:

PTO everyone.

 

 

MAILBAG PRESENTED BY DAYTONA HOMES

Dreaming of a weekend vacay? It’s your chance to Wine Down in the Okanagan! Visit the Showhome Village in Chappelle Gardens in the month of June for your chance to win a relaxing weekend getaway for four! Directions to showhomes here.

  • The Iggy complex

    Lol so much delusion over Neal. He is not an NHL player any more. Slow, no hands and shoots it right into the goalies chest. Not even good in a check role. Just completely useless. At least Lucic is useful in a checking role

    • Just a Fan

      Is Neal’s poor year a product of the poor center depth in Calgary. He has had success for 10 years before he signed in Calgary but Calgary has no quality play-making centers. Boom — Neal has a bad year.

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        That might make sense if there was little scoring from the wings in the top 9; Gaudreau 36, Lindholm 27, Tkachuk 34, Frolik 16, Bennett 13. Neal 7. Maybe that isn’t elite scoring outside the center position, but it’s a fair bit higher than in the Oilers top 9. If you feed Neal top 6 minutes, shelter him from defensive responsibility, and play him on the top PP unit, he may rebound. I’m not delusional to think that Lucic will be a top 9 player this year, but then again Neal wasn’t last year either. If Lucic chips in 10 goals, that will replace all we expected to get from Neal this year.

        • Abagofpucks

          You really think lucic will get 10 goals on the 4th line flamesfan really?
          Neal wont be counted on for defense no doubt but if he doubles his goals and gets a few more A’s i’ll be more than happy and it’s more likely as well. I could also see Neal on the power play with Mcd and Drai, this could really be a boon than a bust.

    • Derian Hatcher

      Iggy. Many thanks for coming here to ON and sharing your infinite hockey wisdom. Your comments are so well thought out and insightful. Good thing the Flames have no worries at all and will sail on through as usual. Keep up the excellent work Iggy, you’re truly a valuable contributor

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        The Value Village fans also thought they would beat the Avs with no problem because they placed 2nd in the west and supposedly manhandled them during the season… lol 1 win and then 4 straight losses and out…and now they seem to think Lucic and Talbot will be the push they need for the cup..lolololololol

      • HOCKEY83

        Ya that’s a pretty safe bet. it was a great season. Hard to duplicate. Also a safe bet that the oil finally break the 80 point barrier this season. opps…sorry just looked it…up you did do that once in the last 10 seasons already

        • I’m excited for reality to set in for you. We are definitely excited in Edmonton. Nobody could be more excited about getting rid of the worst contract in hockey. A step in the right direction.
          I will be blown away if Neal only scores 7, and would be just as surprised if looch even hits that. Even if that isnt the case, look at these contracts… it’s going to be so awesome to watch someone you actually care about get plucked from your team in expansion when you gotta protect the worst contract in the league.
          Getting wiped in the first round like the flames did might be worse experience for those players than just not making it at all.

          • HOCKEY83

            Except the flames who also got rid of one of the worst contracts in hockey as well. All it was was a bad contract swap. If that’s the best trade you have to cheer about in years…That’s a sad sad situation. The Flames will be losing a good Dman no matter if they need to protect Lucic or not. You keep believing it’s better to not make the playoffs than to have a chance to lose in the first round…that’s comical.

        • Dallas Eakins Hair

          Yeah lost of excitement in calgary, all the lamers Jerseys thrown on the ice inspired by another first round exit in the discount bins at Value Village and Goodwill locations all over Cowtown, who wouldn’t be pumped at getting some some rags for wiping down the car…whoo hoo

        • GRC

          So you come on to an Oilers board just to spew garbage eh…so very classy. Is this representitve of most Flames fans?

          BTW…when is the last time the Flames won a playoff round? I cant recall.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      LMAO man you guys are still whining about the Neal trade…well were glad to see you have convinced yourself that Lucic will push you to a cup… better stay over at Value Village nation and pump the tires there about it, much like youy guys were so convinced how you would be watching playoff hockey long into the summer… you were right about that, just your team wasnt going to be involved for long…

  • Neilio

    I don’t know why people are so anxious to spend every last cap dollar before the season starts. Cap space is THE luxury item in the NHL right now. If you have it, you may just get a deal on a player you never would have got in a straight value trade. Teams are desperate for cap relief. And they’ll be desperate during the season too. Keep the powder dry and GMs will come calling.

  • The future never comes

    I wonder how at the same time someone could see one player scoring over 21 goals and the player going the other way scoring less than 10, be a fair trade for both sides? I certainly do not see that as a win-win if you do the math.

  • Flint

    My serious hot take:

    Contract: Winner Edm (but not by as much as you think). Edm is now paying 6,5AAV for Neal + Looch. 5,75 was already terrible for Neal last year and that’s gone up. CGY is paying 5,25AAV for Lucic and they save 9million vs Neal in real dollars. The AAV difference is 1,25AAV and that’s a useful 3rd/4th liner for CGY to arrive at the same cap.

    Everyone talks about the buyout, but I don’t think it matters for either until 2021 when Neal will cost 1,9million for 4 years and Lucic will cost 3,8 + 4,5 + 500k + 500k. and it avoids Lucic’s protection for the expansion draft.

    Roster Fit: Winner CGY. Lucic isn’t going to be expected to be much more than a physical bottom 6 player who doesn’t bleed chances, and he’s a lock for that. Neal is going to be expected to provide return on his (adjusted) 6,5AAV transactional cost and he’ll be a square peg in a round hole trying to keep up with McD, Drai and Nuge. Lucic is a face-breaker and soul-wrecker, Neal is a line-wrecker.

    Potential: Winner Edm by a landslide. Lucic really has little potential and won’t be given many opportunities. He just needs 200+ hits and 4 or 5 goals to fulfill expectations, and he’ll never fulfill his contract. Neal…. hey, he could score 30 again, but I just don’t see it happening. He’s legitimately too terrible a player and skater to be a 20-30 goal scorer in “today’s NHL”…. but, I guess we won’t know until May.

    Dressing Room: Winner CGY. Neal wasn’t liked by the coach nor it seems many teammates. He had to go. Lucic seemed to have his teammates and McDavid come to his defense on numerous occasions. He has Stanley Cup experience and played in Boston, a very structured org. He’ll also have a real role.

    Overall: Edge EDM…. solely based on the unknown production of Neal. But…. if Neal doesn’t score 60-90+ goals in his 4 years in Edmonton, he’ll be bought out, and in either case it’ll be a further error on the Lucic error that will hamstring EDM for another four years either with a bad player and a bad contract or a bad 1,9mil buyout.

      • Flint

        Could you not have said the same thing about Milan Lucic the summer before last…. after his 2017-18 10G 24A season?

        A guy who looked too slow for the game and prior to that 34 pt season he was “extremely useful every other year before last” having scored 50pts+ 5 of the 7 previous seasons.

        and then what happened?

          • OilTastic

            Lucic’s loss of speed was obvious and that’s the reason why he can’t score anymore and it ain’t coming back! We just don’t know if the same happened with Neal? But the fact we can at least leave Neal unprotected in the expansion draft is a sweet bonus!

          • Flint

            Three years? I don’t know how you define “falling off a cliff” In his first year in EDM (three seasons ago) Lucic scored 23 goals when his career avg was 20,5. He goal 50pts when his career avg was 50. He had the most shots on goal in his whole career that year! It’s arguably one of his best of his 12 seasons. Certainly top 5. That’s hardly “falling off a cliff”

            What did you expect from him 65goals and 110pts?

          • The Iggy complex

            Lol Flint don’t you come here with stats and logic. There is no way a 32 year old could just be done in this league as he is extremely slow and lost his hands. He is gonna for sure score lots again because that’s what all old show players do in the NHL after a bad year

        • Homer

          You take away Lucic’s PP time in season one and his stats would be just as bad all 3 years he was here. Washed up whiner is all he is now, watch how many times he bangs his stick in frustration because he can’t even make a simple pass let alone receive one

        • Dallas Eakins Hair

          Then Lucic hit the cliff and his game started coming apart, the guy was frustrated he couldnt get anything going and he himself admitted that and when the heat from the fans and media got to be too much he asked for a trade, but no team was willing to take him even if his agent was trying to help facilitate one because of his contract…you guys sure like to say Neal and his bad attitude but yet seem to gloss over the fact Looch attitude and not being able to take the criticism about his play had him asking for a trade… lol

        • Kevwan

          Lol Flint don’t come on here and write 1000 words on how the Oilers sightly win and don’t even mention the expansion protection slot that Lucic takes and Neal doesn’t. You and idiot complex are quite the pair of tools.

          • Flint

            Quote: “Everyone talks about the buyout, but I don’t think it matters for either until 2021 when Neal will cost 1,9million for 4 years and Lucic will cost 3,8 + 4,5 + 500k + 500k. and it avoids Lucic’s protection for the expansion draft.”

            those last nine words.

            Choose reading. Choose forming an intelligent rebuttal. It’s a discussion forum, no? We’re discussing. Choose being better. Choose life.

          • Kevwan

            So your logic is that both players won’t be bought out until 2021. Why is that? If they rebound and have decent years in 19-20 then they won’t be bought out. If they have poor years both will be. But either way Neal does not have to be protected which is a HUGE advantage for Edmonton. You don’t mention this at all. It’s the biggest benefit of the trade to the Oilers.

            If Oiler fans want a flamer perspective we can read FN. We don’t need or want “your serious hot take” especially if it’s that long, that nonsensical, that Calgary biased and basically already said on FN.

    • Homer

      Did you watch Looch play last year? He was terrible even worse then the previous year he truly has fallen off a cliff. He had a grand total of two fights last year so who’s face is he punching? Exactly who did he stick up for in Edmonton? He’s done zero in Edmonton, has whined like a baby for a trade, blamed the weather on his bad play, his on ice body language displays his true nature which is completely washed up 3rd liner. His buyout proof contact and negative attitude well not be missed.
      One bad year for Neal doesn’t prove he’s washed up so we’ll have to wait and see but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit of bounce back for a guy who’s scored over 20 for his first 10 years before he went to the lames. Neal’s contract gives the oilers options that Lucic’s didn’t. Every team in the league laughed at Edmonton for this signing with lames fans being the loudest, enjoy his losing performance and lousy personality

  • Abagofpucks

    Your wrong about lucic flint he’s going to be relegated to playing a goon role in value village. Plus there’s the leave him alone and he goes away factor. In lucics mind this next year will be i gotta prove myself so he’s gonna be running around trying to hit players, and i’ll say he picks up way more penalties trying. And he’s on a faster team than the oilers were last year so i can see this going sideways for them. he can’t play in their top 6 for sure, he could be on their 3rd line but i see him on the 4th.

    I think he will look more like a washed up player more than anything.

  • percy

    I think it’s a win for both teams. I said a few months ago that Looch would be a good fit in cow town. The flames need someone to watch over Johnny and Mat.

    • Rock11

      The only place he will watch them from is the bench. He cant play up the line-up and playing him against the calibre of player that those two guys face will just get you punished on the scoresheet. I’m unconvinced a 4th line goon ever had an impact on the game and if it did that ended 25 years ago.

    • Lowe enuf

      Here’s a news flash for you Percy, they still do. If the cream puffs are counting on Lucic policing opponents, ask McDavid about getting cut twice in one game against the Flames and what a deterrent Lucic was. The only team that fears Lucic is the one he is now on.

  • Clayton

    I think the trade is successful for the Flames right away and depending on how things pan out for Neal it could be a win for the Oilers. The Flames win right away because they lose a guy that didn’t fit into their top 6 and really isn’t a bottom 6 player, they lost a negative attitude from their dressing room and a guy that didn’t fit in, they gained cap relief, got a guy that fits their bottom 6 that they expect nothing more than what he has provided in Edmonton…grit and physicality. Any goal scoring would be a bonus. There appears to be more upside for Neal, but if that doesn’t pan out the Oilers only gain is a contract that is easier to buy out, but they took on a larger cap hit and are also out Lucic’s signing bonus…so out more hard cold cash beyond the cap hit.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      LOL Team Value Village seems to forget Lucic asked for trade because he couldnt take the heat from the fans and the media when he couldnt get anything done on the ice. You guys sure seems to cherry pick your facts when it comes to things

  • lucky

    Expect both players to have mild bounce backs, but nothing extraordinary due to change in scenery and slightly better fit, predict Calgary won’t get the pick. Huge YEG winner in the boardroom, simply having found an escape to the Lucic boat anchor contract moves Holland’s (Edmonton’s upteenth) rebuild ahead by a few years and burns less of McD’s and Drai’s prime. A much brighter future.

  • El Connor mcdaddy

    If you seriously believe that the Oilers didn’t win the Lucic for Neal swap you are an Idiot. Straight up. Even if Neal only gets 30-40 points, he will be more effective than lucic on the PP and in the top 6. His leadership will not be missed. Because when someone is barking orders in the room and on the bench, but then proceeds to do none of what he says on the ice, his leadership turns into hot garbage, that people roll their eyes at. He also was ineffective at separating the puck from the man all year last season, and he has a contract in which it is almost impossible to buy out, and he would need to be protected in the Expansion. Neal on the other hand can be bought out or left exposed at expansion, so if both Neal and Lucic prove to be over the hill at least we can move on. Calgary is stuck with the boat anchor.

    • Rock11

      I made the leadership point about Matt Hendricks when he left town and people trashed the hell out of that comment. With Lucic though its cheers away. Seriously this is a great point. You don’t have to be the teams best player to lead but you do need to be on the ice in key moments and have some ability to positively impact the game. Lucic’s frustration and lack of effort was noticeable from my couch. Imagine how noticeable is was from the bench.

      • Abagofpucks

        I’m going to say hendy was a better team guy who would do everything he could to stand up for our players and looch … well maybe not as much.
        It’s gonna be harder for looch to stick up for his new value village buddies, because most of the players on other teams that are gonna be taking liberties on their key players will be sitting on the bench when looch hits the ice.

  • Abagofpucks

    This year lil johnny won’t be squirting juice instead he will be designated to rubbing cream on looch in between periods so his skin isn’t dry and itchy.
    Because a dry and itchy looch is an unhappy looch and he won’t go after all the players hacking and wacking poor lil johnny.

  • CMG30

    Edmonton wins this transaction by a mile. Edmonton got the player with a far better chance to rebound. If neither player rebounds, Edmonton got the guy who can be bought out. When the expansion draft rolls around, Edmonton will not have to protect their guy but the Flames will at the expense of losing someone else.

    The only way Edmonton loses this deal is if Neal truly has fallen off the cliff and never scores a goal again while Lucic suddenly becomes the player he was a decade ago potting 20+ goals, regains his skating, sets a new record for hits and actually fights someone other than the Calgary Flames. Even if all this happens, Edmonton gets to keep it’s third rounder, comfortable in the knowledge that while things didn’t work out like they had hoped, they didn’t get worse and then they will simply buy Neal out. If the overwhelmingly likely happens and Lucic continues to be the exact same player we’ve seen for the the past 3 years, (a well past his prime tough-guy who’s at the point in his career that he should probably hang up his skates) then it will take a Holland level miracle for the Flames to unload him and they will have his boat anchor contract on their books for another 4 years…

  • DraiCup

    Imagine Lucic in two years. He’ll get even slower. When he becomes a huge liability on the ice Flames will have to buy him out. Even though feeling bad for a multi millionaire is somehow ridiculous I might feel bad for him by then. That’s a terrible end to a career.
    As for Neal… if he has two okay years in Edmonton all is good. By then he’ll probably be exposed in the expansion draft or bought out. Time will tell…if he finds a niche here on the 2nd or 3rd line and on the PP he might stick around even longer