James Neal dealt by Penguins to Predators
Patric Hornqvist, Nick Spalling on to Pittsburgh
James Neal is headed to the Music City.
The Pittsburgh Penguins shipped the six-foot-two winger to the Nashville Predators on Friday in exchange for forward Patric Hornqvist and centre Nick Spaling.
The Predators tweeted confirmation of the deal during the NHL Entry Draft.
"In this deal, we got to drop our cap a little bit with Hornqvist," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said. "We like Hornqvist as an all-around player.
"Hornqvist plays at the net, goes to the net, works the corners. We like his all-around play."
Neal, 26, is a proven scorer that comes with injury concerns. The Whitby, Ont., native has surpassed the 20-goal plateau six times in his career, and scored a career-high 40 two seasons ago.
He has four more years left on his current contract with an annual cap hit of $5 million US.
But the asterisk is with his health. Concussion problems slowed him down last year and he has never played a full season in the NHL.
If he stays healthy, the Predators get a much-needed injection of offence to an otherwise lethargic attack. Nashville ranked 19th in the league in goals per game last year at 2.61.
Hornqvist, 21, is a four-time 20-goal scorer and hit the 30-goal mark in 2009-10. In 363 career games, the Sollentuna, Sweden native has amassed 106 goals and 110 assists. He's under contract through 2017-18 with an annual cap hit of $4.25 million.
Spaling is coming off a career year last season, scoring 13 goals and 19 assists. The 25-year-old was originally drafted by Nashville in the second round (58th overall) in 2007.
"We like Spaling," Rutherford said. "He can play all three positions on the third line.
"I think we were just trying to change the mix of our team a little bit and get a little different-type player."
With files from The Associated Press