Ray Shero was understandably excited about the deal that he swung this afternoon with the Dallas Stars. After all, he was able to secure a player that should fit into his long term plan in James Neal… actually to hear Shero tell it, he is feeling pretty excited about both guys that he picked up today.
He made it known that Neal will have a chance to be a long term solution on the wing in Pittsburgh and that he is looking forward to seeing what the change in scenery will do for Matt Niskanen. Shero also made it known that it was tough to trade Alex Goligoski, but at the end of the day he felt that the deal was something that made his team better.
Ray did mention that it was a tough trade for Dan Bylsma “to get his arms around” as he was a big fan of Goligoski, but that the coach is excited with his new options.
Shero also called the injury to Evgeni Malkin a blessing in disguise, as he wouldn’t have been able to make this deal without the money saved by placing Geno on long term injured reserve.
You can hear Ray Shero’s full comments along with the questions from the room below. The first question was cut off a bit, as I was just parking in a snowy lot in Pittsburgh en route to the game this afternoon…
(Listen to the Shero Call below…)
Here is the official release for the trade… plus the team has recalled Brian Strait…
PENGUINS ACQUIRE JAMES NEAL, MATT NISKANEN FROM DALLAS IN EXCHANGE FOR ALEX GOLIGOSKI
The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forward James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen from the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Alex Goligoski, it was announced by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
Neal, 23, is in his third NHL season. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound left winger ranked third on the Stars this season with 21 goals and fifth with 39 points.
A native of Whitby, Ontario, Neal established career highs offensively last season with 27 goals, 28 assists and 55 points in 78 games. In 214 NHL games the 2005 second-round pick (33rd overall) has 72 goals and 131 points. He is a three-time 20-goal scorer.
Neal spent four seasons with the Plymouth Whalers (Ontario Hockey League), tallying 68 goals and 173 points in 187 games.
Niskanen, 24, is in his fourth NHL season. The 6-foot, 200-pound defenseman has posted six assists in 45 games this season. Niskanen’s best season came in 2008-09 when he led all Dallas defenders in scoring with 35 points (6G-29A).
The Virginia, Minnesota native was Dallas’ first-round selection (28th overall) in 2005. In 277 career games with the Stars, Niskanen tallied 16 goals and 82 points. Niskanen has three assists in 16 career postseason appearances.
Prior to joining the Stars, Niskanen spent two seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he scored 45 points (10G-35A) in 77 career contests.
Release on Strait…
PENGUINS RECALL DEFENSEMAN BRIAN STRAIT
The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled defenseman Brian Strait from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, it was announced by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
Strait, 23, is in his second full season with WBS. The defensive defenseman has a plus-17 rating this season to go with his eight points (2G-6A) in 54 games. Last year, Strait recorded a plus-22 rating while chipping in 14 points (2G-12A) in 78 games for WBS.
Strait, the Penguins’ third-round pick (65th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, played three collegiate seasons at Boston University. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound blueliner capped his junior campaign by helping the Terriers claim the NCAA national title. He posted five goals and 23 points in 111 career games.
The Boston, Mass. native captained Team USA to a gold medal in the 2006 Under-18 World Junior Championship. Strait participated in the United States Development Program under current WBS head coach John Hynes.