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Joining A New Team, Goligoski/Neal & Niskanen Trade



New Puck Daddy:  Part one of my pieces on joining a new team. This part focuses on the gear, and the joy that is getting all new stuff in your new team colours.  On Thursday the piece will be about fitting in – how soon you can take a shot at a guy, how you interact with the guy you speared in the nuts last time you played them.


Healthy and happy, the boys both chilling on a place we shouldn’t let them, but do (the counters are off-limits though).  They don’t look all that pumped, but whatever, they didn’t respond when I asked them to smile.

Hi there, we're cats.


The Pittsburgh Penguins finally tracked down a quality winger for Sidney Crosby, trading offensive defenseman Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars for James Neal.  And if that wasn’t enough, Dallas threw in Matt Niskanen, a defenseman that still hasn’t fulfilled his potential, but could certainly develop further and be a nice asset for the Pens.

Great poise, vision.

Crosby hasn’t exactly been forced to be Lebron James in Cleveland (being that Evgeni Malkin is a Penguin as well), but for the most part he’s been saddled with mediocre wingers for his entire career.  Neal is far better than anybody he’s consistently played with before.  The best part is, Neal is still young (23), and has the potential to be a 30 or 40 goal guy.

Upon first glance, it appears that Pittsburgh won the trade in a major way.  Which they did.  But here’s my guess on why Nieuwendyk made the move:

First, the obvious stuff – the Stars are on a self-imposed budget, and I’m sure they’d like to re-sign Richards in the off-season.  Neal is due to sign a fairly hefty contract, so if Nieuwendyk figured he wasn’t going to be able to get them both, you might as well get a quality player for the guy while you can.  And, Goligoski is a major asset.

Solid addition for the Pens.

But second, and this is purely speculation – maybe they were going to get rid of Niskanen anyway.  Apparently Dallas fans are disappointed that he hasn’t lived up to their expectations, and maybe the guy wore out his welcome there.  Being that Pittsburgh has said that Goligoski wasn’t for sale, and I truly believe they meant it, this kind of feels like one of those “offer they can’t refuse” situations.

He wasn’t for sale, but everyone has their price, so why not overpay to catch the exact fish you want? (Like the Knicks just did for Carmelo Anthony.)  It’s more valuable to use the guy as a throw-in than trying to trade him straight up for another mediocre player (and not get Goligoski), or worse, putting him on waivers or something.

Can’t be certain, but you can be certain that there was more to this deal than just equating player talents and mis-judging their worths.

Then again, what do I know?


I’m such a product of my own generation, that I can’t help but adore the set-up of Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts” column every week.  Just nugget upon nugget of hockey information.  Too good, I recommend you check it out.


On trade deadline day, I’m going to be doing many, many hours of radio with my co-host Todd Lewis.  Swing by the site that day and tune in for a bit, Todd’s a good dude and we have lots of fun.

Hope everyone is doing well – looking forward to seeing all these new players in their new sweaters!


7 Responses to “Joining A New Team, Goligoski/Neal & Niskanen Trade”
  1. James says:

    Neal, Niskanen, and Goligoski are all RFAs after next season.

    The big thing for Dallas is that they trimmed around $2.5M in cap space and real dollars in 2011-12.

    The million dollar question is whether they improved (more budget space) or hurt (I’ve heard that Richards and Neal were BFFs) their chances of re-signing Richards with this move.

  2. Irishska says:

    As someone from the Dallas area who follows the Stars, yes, Niskanen isn’t the most beloved player on the team as far as the fans go. I’m sure there are many like me who are less than enthusiastic about losing Neal though. He’s been a good asset and a great scoring threat for the Stars over the last couple years. The Pens should be happy to have him paired with Crosby, and he’ll begin netting quite a few once Sid comes back (and probably before)

  3. HockeyPhool says:

    Hey JT – didn’t grow up in Minnesota, been playing a little more than 10 years. I’ve always called hockey pants “breezers”. I thought that’s what everybody called them.

    Nice column for PD today – although the choice of accompanying photo hurts this Avs fan.

  4. minnesotagirl71 says:

    Only knew them as breezers until I started reading hockey blogs. Now if I call them hockey pants, people look at me strangely.

    Fresh socks are the best! But then again, I’m from Minnesota….

  5. andy says:

    my fantasy team hopes neal blows up.

    id never heard of breezers till i started frequenting
    the term still doesnt make any sense to me.

    new gloves and socks! love them. (i have a mild glove addiction…)
    im even ok with new pants, but new shins and elbows freak me out.

    random hockey player observation: i really like that subs on a beer league team will thank the ‘vets’ for letting them play. theres something so at odds with the tough guy image.

  6. They’re breezers, yes. And it’s a snowMOBILE, not a snowmachine. Do you drive an automachine to work?

  7. Mig says:

    Word amongst the Pittsburgh beatwriters is that if Crosby comes back he will rejoin Kunitz and Dupuis as a first line and that Neal will stay with Staal and form the core of the second line.

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