Sunday, February 19, 2012
Penguins Re-sign James Neal For Six Years
As you wake up on this Sunday morning and rub your eyes don't be surprised by the headline. The Penguins announced that James Neal signed a six year extention that will make Neal a Penguin through the 2017-18 season at an annual cap hit of $5M.
Neal was set to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season and with the Penguins having to think about deals with Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal, amongst others, nobody really knew where James Neal fit in.
Neal is having a career year as he has netted 30 goals and 56 points through 57 games. Neal came to the Penguins in a trade last season with Matt Niskanen for Alex Goligoski.
Neal is only 24 years old so this will take Neal through his age 30 year.
This is just great news for Penguins fans. With 30 goals so far this year it is easy to think of Neal scoring 40 goals. 40 goals would have got Neal big money on the open mark and while he was a restricted free agent he would have been more than right to ask for big money. Maybe James Neal knows what he has with Malkin and knows he has a chance to win a cup with this team but this is all Ray Shero. We could look at this deal in three years and it could be a bargin for a 30+ or 40+ goal a year.
Ray Shero knows what he is going and when he saw they had the true scoring winger he got the contract done. It is going to be so much fun to watch Malkin and Neal play hockey toget for the forseeable future. A pretty nice surprise to wake up to.