The Calgary Flames have made a big splash in this free agency period, already signing Derek Ryan to a deal and on Monday, they added another one of the big fish on the market, James Neal. Neal, who helped guide the expansion Golden Knights to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance, left through unrestricted free agency and signed a 5-year deal, worth $28.75 million.
Neal didn't take being exposed in the expansion draft sitting down, as he went to Vegas with a chip on his shoulder and it paid dividends, both for himself and the club. In 71 games played, Neal potted 25 goals and 44 points, good enough for 129th among all forwards in scoring.
That goal total will certainly be what the Flames are looking forward to the most, as they will try and slot him in somewhere in the top six, maybe taking a spin on the top line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan or perhaps dropping down a line and giving Mikael Backlund a capable scoring winger on his line. Regardless, the makeup of this Flames team has certainly changed up front.
|Johnny Gaudreau||6.750||Mark Giordano||6.750||Mike Smith||5.667|
|Sean Monahan||6.375||TJ Brodie||4.650||Tyler Parsons||0.759|
|James Neal||5.750||Travis Hamonic||3.857|
|Mikael Backlund||5.350||Michael Stone||3.500|
|Troy Brouwer||4.500||Dalton Prout||0.800|
|Michael Frolik||4.300||Rasmus Andersson||0.756|
|Derek Ryan||3.125||Oliver Kylington||0.731|
Let's not forget, the Flames still have to sign both Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin to new deals, which will likely round out this roster I've posted above and now the Flames know just about how much they have left to play with in doing so. With the addition of Neal, this lineup above is now coming in at $71.9 million, leaving only about $7.6 million to play with. Both Lindholm and Hanifin are likely to use all of that extra space up, but it should be very good value for their money.