It looks like the trade is officially one for one.
Last summer, when the Oilers and Flames swapped Milan Lucic for James Neal, there was a condition attached that stipulated that Edmonton would give Calgary a third-round pick in 2020 in Neal scored 21 goals and Lucic scored 10 or fewer goals than Neal in the 2019-20 season.
Well, according to Gary Bettman in his press release about the NHL’s return-to-play plan on Tuesday, the 2019-20 regular season has officially come to a close. Neal, who went on a burner at the beginning of the season and cooled off after the turn of the New Year finished the season with 19 goals, that would mean that the conditions on the deal weren’t met, and Edmonton shouldn’t have to give Calgary that pick.
Of course, this is just speculation on my part. There are plenty of conditional deals floating around in limbo that will be affected by the league cutting the regular-season short and moving into this expanded 24-team playoff format.
The Flames could go to an arbitrator and argue that Neal was on pace for 21 goals and that they’re entitled to the third-round pick, but the Oilers have the argument that Neal was injured or went cold and wouldn’t have scored two more goals. Neal missed a month of action in February but returned to the lineup in early-March, though he didn’t score a goal in 13 games played after the calendar flipped to 2020. There’s no guarantee that he would have scored two more goals had the season gone on as normal.