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NHL Offseason Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Saturday Open Forum

Rivals Edmonton and Calgary swap bad contracts

Florida Panthers v Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers have traded Milan Lucic to the Calgary Flames for fellow disappointing veteran forward James Neal. In addition to Lucic. Calgary picks up a conditional third round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and Edmonton will also retain 12.5% of Lucic’s remaining salary.

Lucic signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with Edmonton on July 1, 2016, but hasn’t come close to living up to it.

The Flames inked Neal to a lucrative five-year, $28.75 million deal on July 2, 2018 and he produced a paltry 7 goals and 12 assists in 63 games last season.

Both players have four years remaining on their bloated deals.

The Oilers appear to be the winner here as they have acquired a perennial 20-goal scorer who should bounce back after the first down year of his career, especially when he’ll have the chance to skate alongside the likes of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Also working in Edmonton’s favor is Neal will not have to be protected in the upcoming Seattle expansion draft, while Calgary will have to use one of its protected slots on Lucic because of his NMC. Neal’s contract is also the easier of the two to buy out, although I’m sure both teams are hoping the “get out of jail (almost) free” compliance buyouts will be part of the next CBA.

The Florida Panthers will see the players on their respective new teams back-to-back in late October when they visit Calgary on October 24 and Edmonton three days later to kick off a four-game road trip.

Hockey Headlines

The New York Rangers and Jacob Trouba avoided arbitration with a monster seven-year, $56 million contract. Tom Urtz Jr. breaks it down. (Blueshirt Banter)

In addition to acquiring Lucic, the Flames and the city of Calgary have reached a tentative agreement on a new arena. Sorry, Houston... (Calgary Herald)

The Montreal Canadiens have re-signed winger Charles Hudon to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800,000. An arbitration hearing was set for August 2, so scratch that. (Eyes On The Prize)

Bowen Byram, the fourth overall pick in the 2019 Entry Draft, has signed an entry-level contract with the Colorado Avalanche. (Mile High Hockey)

Arbitration Hearings

Buffalo Sabres: Evan Rodrigues (July 23), Remi Elie (August 1), Linus Ullmark (August 2), Jake McCabe (August 4)

Calgary Flames: Sam Bennett (July 23), David Rittich (July 29)

Carolina Hurricanes: Anton Forsberg (August 4)

Colorado Avalanche: Sheldon Dries (August 4)

Nashville Predators: Colton Sissons (July 26), Rocco Grimaldi (August 4)

New Jersey Devils: Mirco Mueller (July 28), Will Butcher (August 2)

New York Rangers: Pavel Buchnevich (July 29)

Pittsburgh Penguins: Zach Aston-Reese (July 22)

St. Louis Blues: Oskar Sundqvist (July 24), Joel Edmundson (August 4)

Washington Capitals: Christian Djoos (July 22), Chandler Stephenson (August 1)

Winnipeg Jets: Andrew Copp (July 21), Neal Pionk (July 24)

* 20 of the 40 players who filed have signed new contracts