Neal ready for fresh start with Oilers: 'Calgary was a tough go'
Veteran sniper James Neal will suit up for his fourth team in as many years when the 2019-20 season kicks off, and he's ready to put his latest stint behind him.
Neal signed a five-year, $28.75 million contract with the Calgary Flames last July. He was expected to add scoring depth to Calgary's forward group but never managed to carve out a role in the offense, putting up seven goals in 63 games. On Friday, the Flames traded him to their provincial neighbors and archrivals in the Edmonton Oilers.
"Obviously, Calgary was a tough go," Neal told Oilers team reporter Tony Brar. "It was hard last year and we'll have a great year this year. I'm just looking forward to next season."
Though he's coming off the worst campaign of his career, the 31-year-old still has enticing shooting talent and put up at least 20 goals in 10 straight NHL seasons prior to last year.
The Oilers are gambling that Neal will bounce back in Edmonton and could potentially pair him with the NHL's most dynamic playmaker in Connor McDavid.
"I play my best hockey around guys that can move the puck," said Neal. "For me, I'm a shooter and I do my best hockey when I'm getting open and finding fresh ice."
Drafted 33rd overall by the Dallas Stars in 2005, Neal has also had stints with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, and Vegas Golden Knights over his 11-year career.
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