After weeks of speculation, the Battle of Alberta just got a whole lot more interesting. The Edmonton Oilers have reportedly traded Milan Lucic to the Calgary Flames in exchange for James Neal.
Lucic signed in Edmonton ahead of the 2016-17 season and scored 23 goals and 50 points in his first season with the club, helping lead them to the second round of the NHL playoffs.
He has recently fallen out of favour with fans and pundits around the city for his lack of offensive production over the last two seasons while playing on a $6-million per season contract.
“Both of those players needed a change of scenery,” Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman told Bob Stauffer on 630 CHED Oilers Now. “I think both of those teams look at it like ‘we can help each other out here.’”
LISTEN BELOW: 630 CHED Oilers Now special coverage of the Lucic/Neal trade
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In Neal, the Oilers acquire a 10-time, 20-goal-scorer and a player who appeared in the Stanley Cup Final with Nashville in 2017 and Vegas in 2018.
The soon-to-be 32-year-old had a down year in Calgary last year, posting career lows in goals with seven, assists with 12 and points with 19.
Neal joins former teammate Mike Smith, who also struggled last year with Calgary. Lucic, meanwhile will be reunited with former Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot, who signed a contract with the Flames this off-season.
The first regular season installment of the Battle of Alberta goes in at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Dec. 27.
More details on the trade will be released once the deal has passed through the NHL’s offices.
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