The Calgary Flames have agreed a five-year, $28.75 mil deal with UFA James Neal, who spent last year as an alternate captain of the inaugural year Vegas Golden Knights.
With his new deal and new city, Neal will earn $5.75 mil a year until the end of the 2022/23 season.
The news of the deal is sure to break Golden Knights fans hearts after it was reported that Neal was offered a five-year deal with $5mil a season, so to see him move north of the border for $750,000 more must sting, but that’s the unfortunate side of business that is hockey.
Neal registered 25 goals and 19 assists last year for the Golden Knights, good enough for sixth best on the roster, while his 44 points would put him tied for fifth on last years Flames roster.
In his 10-year career, Neal has hit the 30 goal mark twice, once in 2015/16 in his second year in Nashville, and the only other team he went on to reach 40 goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011/12.
Over the past two season, Neal has put up 41 and 44 point seasons.
When the season starts in October, Neal will be 31-years-old, and with initial reports showing the deal doesn’t decrease in salary over the length of the five-years, it’s fair to say the Flames may be overpaying him in the future, but if he can continue his goal scoring performances but increase his overall production, maybe they can get some decent years out of him at this price before he enters his potential Brooks Orpik years.
Neal is by no stretch of the imagination a has been, he’s not old yet and still could become a leader on the Flames offence, but three years from now, will that really look like a good contract?