Lead ‘Golden Misfit’ Neal signs 5-year deal with Calgary

Updated July 2, 2018 - 7:35 pm

James Neal served as the frontman for the “Golden Misfits,” a nickname he bestowed upon the expansion team in a group text chat prior to its first season.

But as the Golden Knights are finding out, the band doesn’t always stay together.

Neal was the latest free-agent departure from the Western Conference champions, as the veteran forward hammered out a five-year, $28.75 million deal with division rival Calgary that was finalized early Monday.

“It’s a tough process, for sure,” Neal said in a phone interview with the Flames that the team posted on its website. “It’s a hard day, but for me, coming to Calgary, it’s a place I’ve always loved.

“They’ve got a great, young core. We’ve got a great group of guys. I’m just excited to be a part of it. I want to win, and I think we’re right there.”

Knights general manager George McPhee said Sunday the team was still talking with Neal and his agent about a new contract.

But Calgary made a five-year offer to entice Neal, who turns 31 in September. The two sides worked into the early hours to finalize the deal.

Neal’s agent, Patrick Morris, could not be reached for comment.

“We felt, ultimately, this is the deal that needed to be done to get the player. And that was priority No. 1. And that’s what the market was bearing,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said in an interview on the team’s website.

“We made a decision that we were prepared to go to this level. And we add a player that fills a real need for us. To get a big guy that can score like he does, I think he fits seamlessly in our lineup and really checks off a big box for us.”

Neal joins David Perron (St. Louis, four years) and Luca Sbisa (unsigned) as free agents to leave the Knights following their unlikely run to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Knights signed center Paul Stastny and defenseman Nick Holden and re-signed bruising forward Ryan Reaves on Sunday when free agency opened.

Neal missed all of training camp after recovering from surgery on his broken right hand and scored the first official goal in franchise history in the season opener at Dallas.

In 71 games, Neal finished with 25 goals, which would have ranked second on the Flames behind Sean Monahan.

He added six goals and 11 points during the postseason, helping the Knights reach the Stanley Cup Final.

“It’s obviously tough losing (the Stanley Cup Final). You never want to leave your team after you go on a run like that,” Neal said in the phone interview. “But that’s the way the business is.

“I’m going to bring my experience, I’m going to bring what I’ve learned over my career — I’m going to bring that to Calgary and I’m going to be a leader and help the young guys. And like I said, I just want to win. I’m going to bring that winning attitude. I’ve had a lot of guys reach out to me, so I’m excited about that opportunity here.”

Neal has 10 straight seasons of at least 20 goals and will add scoring punch to a team that finished fifth in the Pacific Division and missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

The Flames, who already made several moves this offseason, ranked 27th in the league in goals per game.

“Certainly James is a guy we’ve targeted and really a position we’ve targeted,” Treliving said. “This is a guy who’s been just a real productive player and fits a real specific need for us. We’re excited to add him.

The Knights and Calgary play four times, with the first meeting at Calgary on Nov. 19. The Flames visit T-Mobile Arena on Nov. 23.

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: Knights Win Third Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen go over the Knights 7-2 win over the L.A. Kings.
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Golden Edge: Vegas Fans Show their Love at Fan Fest
Bryan Salmond is on the red carpet at the downtown Las Vegas Events Center as the 2018-2019 Golden Knights show up for Fan Fest.
Golden Edge: Knights Back From Colorado
Golden Knights reporters Adam Hill and Ben Gotz talk about Knights preseason training camp and how Max Pacioretty is fitting in with the Knights.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — September 17, 2018
Ben Gotz answers questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Golden Edge: Knights Win First Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, David Schoen, Ben Gotz and Adam hill recap the Golden Knights first preseason game win against the Arizona Coyotes.
Golden Edge: First Practice
Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss the first day of practice for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights Presser Max Pacioretty
Max Pacioretty speaks about his first impressions coming to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Mailbag
Ben Gotz answers questions submitted from Golden Knights' fans about recent roster changes.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Rookies Faceoff Against The Sharks Good
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond breaks down the 5-4 loss the Golden Knights rookies had against the San Jose Sharks.
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects after a breakout season in Sweden. He slid to the fifth round in the 2017 draft after being projected to be selected much higher. “I wasn’t happy about being a fifth-rounder. But it was good for me, too, because I didn’t have so much pressure when I came here," Elvenes said. Elvenes posted five goals and 16 points in 28 games while playing in the top league in Sweden. The Knights signed Elvenes to a three-year, entry-level contract in June.
Golden Knights rookie camp - Day 2
The Golden Knights held their second day of rookie camp at City Arena in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Golden Edge: Deryk Engelland Rides With Kurt Busch
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond heads to city national arena and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to see Kurt Busch attempt to learn how to play hockey, and Deryk Engelland hop in a race car.
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
Golden Edge: Floor Hockey Clinic
Bryan Salmond travels to the Paradise Recreational Center for the Las Vegas Golden Knights floor hockey clinic with special guest Golden Knights defenseman and Mark Messier Leadership Award winner Deryk Engelland.
Golden Edge: Off Season Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Knights free angency and signing Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury on his three-year extension: To stay in Vegas a long time was big
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said he's glad he'll be a part of the team for a long time. Fleury spoke about signing a three-year contract extension at a news conference at the City National Arena in Las Vegas on Friday.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, July 5
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Golden Edge: Free Agency Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat writer David Schoen go over the latest free agency news from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Knights Host Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights second day of scrimmage at City National Arena.
Golden Edge: Prospects Prepare For Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights getting ready to participate in a scrimmage for the next few days.
Golden Edge: Previous Prospects Fight For Spot
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over day two of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Edge: One-On-One With Reid Duke
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond interviews Golden Knights prospect Reid Duke.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Wednesday, June 27
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Development Camp
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Golden Knights development camp and how the prospects are looking to improve their game.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 26, 2018
David Perron, James Neal set to leave Golden Knights
David Perron, James Neal set to leave Golden Knights Perron and Neal were key contributors on the second line for the Knights, helping the expansion team to the Pacific Division and Western Conference championships. Perron’s agent, Allan Walsh, told the Review-Journal on Sunday that the Knights have not made a new contract offer since the season ended. Neal turned down a five-year, $25 million offer from the Knights at the trade deadline, according to the Calgary Sun.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like