The Calgary Flames continue to be busy this Free Agency as they signed James Neal to a five-year contract this morning.
The Real Deal James Neal! Early this morning, the Calgary Flames finalized the James Neal signing as they signed him to a five-year contract with an AAV of $5.75 million. Neal spent last season playing for the Vegas Golden Knights where he finished the year with 25 goals and 44 points.
Neal spent three seasons with the Nashville Predators before joining the Golden Knights. He’s been to the Stanley Cup Finals the last two seasons. But he also lost both times… so I’m not sure if this is foreshadowing for this upcoming season.
Supposedly, the Vegas Golden Knights offered Neal $5 million AAV for five years and he turned it down.
Neal is a consistent 20+ goal scorer. He’s had a minimum of 20 goals every season since the start of his NHL career in 2008-09. He’s also consistently had above 50% CF% in almost every single season.
What I’ve gathered from Twitter and Flames fans is that they like Neal and they don’t mind the price tag that came with him. $5.75 million for a top-line winger, even a second-line winger, is a fair price. But five years isn’t ideal, from what I’ve gathered. Neal is almost 31 so he’ll be close to hitting 36 when his contract is done. It’s not the worst, but we may be nearing the end of Neal’s prime in a couple of years.
The one problem now for the Flames is they absolutely have to clear up cap space now. If that means either one of Michael Stone or Troy Brouwer is gone, I’m perfectly fine with that. But they’ll also have to clear some room with their forwards in general. If that also means Garnet Hathaway and Curtis Lazar are also gone, I am also perfectly fine with that.