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Edmonton Oilers to give Calgary Flames 3rd round pick in James Neal – Milan Lucic swap

It turns out the Edmonton Oilers will be giving the Calgary Flames a third-round pick after all.

Last summer, the clubs completed a trade where the Oilers traded Milan Lucic and a conditional 3rd round pick to the Flames for James Neal.

One of the conditions on the trade was for Neal to score 21 or more goals and he reached only 19. With the NHL put on pause in March with games to complete, it was unknown how the league would proceed given the conditions on the trade which had yet to be met.

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Nonetheless, the NHL issued a ruling on the trade late Friday night and the Oilers, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, will be forced to give up a 3rd round pick in either 2020, or 2021. They will have until the start of the 3rd round in the 2020 draft to decide which pick they will give the Flames.

While Neal didn’t hit the 21 goal mark meaning the condition was not met, the NHL has for some reason decided the pick will be going to Calgary after all.

While there’s been no official reasoning at the time of posting as to why the NHL chose this route, my best guess would be the NHL chose to prorate Neal’s scoring over a full season.

If I’m the Edmonton Oilers, I’m livid about this. The condition was clear in that Neal needed to hit 21 goals this season, and that wasn’t met. Why did the NHL need to punish the Oilers this way?

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Neal definitely had a strong season for the Oilers totalling 31 points in 55 games while Lucic mustered up 20 points in 68 games.

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Now, Edmonton is being forced into giving up a third-round pick when the NHL could’ve just created a compensatory 3rd round pick to give the Flames with no further issue.

Third round picks typically aren’t successful NHL’ers but it doesn’t hinder the fact that a player selected then could have a positive impact within any given organization.

Nonetheless, the Oilers will have the chance to decide up until the final minute if they want to give up this year or next years pick. It’s the small silver lining in what’s otherwise a tough situation for Edmonton.

On Twitter: @zjlaing