The Pittsburgh Penguins announced they’ve signed forward James Neal to a six-year, $30M extension. The deal has an average salary hit of $5M per season.
James Neal was acquired from Dallas in 2010 in exchange for defenseman Alex Goligoski and has had a great impact on the Penguin’s offense since. Neal has had a breakout season this year with the Penguins. In 59 games so far, Neal has scored 30 goals and added 27 assists for 57 total points. This puts him 3rd in the league in scoring and 13th in total points. Neal’s previous career high in goals and points is 27 and 55 respectively. He has already surpassed both of those totals and will smash them with 23 games still remaining on the calendar.
Neal has really stepped up in the absence of Sidney Crosby. He is playing alongside the league’s leader in points, Evgeni Malkin. Neal and Malkin have been magical together on the ice and have led the Penguins to 5th in the Eastern Conference, which is impressive with all the injuries they’ve had this year. Neal and Malkin will surely keep up their chemistry into the playoffs and help lead the Penguins on a deep playoff run. They, along with Marc-Andre Fleury playing great in net, make the Penguins one of the favorites to come out of the East.
For the Penguins, locking up Neal for the next six seasons was a perfect situation. They now have two dangerously scorers in the lineup (three when Crosby comes back from his concussion). The Penguins offense will be feared. Neal is only 24 years old and will only get better which is very scary for opposing teams and goaltenders.
More to Come..
Follow me on Twitter for exclusive news & content!