Flames sign James Neal to 5-year contract
Free-agent right-winger's deal said to be worth $28.75 million US
Calgary signed forward James Neal to a five-year, $28.75 million US contract on Monday, giving Johnny Gaudreau and the rest of the Flames a much-needed scoring boost.
Neal has topped 20 goals in each of his 10 NHL seasons, and was considered the top player left on the free-agent market a day after the NHL's signing period opened.
The signing also comes a day after general manager Brad Treliving talked of a need to upgrade his forward positions to take the pressure off of Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk.
"For me, coming to Calgary, it's a place I've always loved."<br><br>James Neal talks to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flames?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Flames</a> TV about his decision to ink a long-term deal with the organization! <a href="https://t.co/ss8h3inWU2">pic.twitter.com/ss8h3inWU2</a>—@NHLFlames
"One of the things we looked to address this off-season was adding depth and versatility to our forward unit," Treliving said. "At the end of the year, I talked a little bit about us as a team relying on too few guys to do too many things."
Calgary becomes Neal's third team in as many seasons. He was selected by Vegas in the NHL expansion draft a year ago, and scored 25 goals and 44 points in 71 games for the Golden Knights.
The 30-year-old Neal also played for Pittsburgh and Nashville, and has 263 goals and 495 points in 703 career games.
The Flames also signed forward Derek Ryan to a three-year, $9.375 million contract. Ryan scored 15 goals and 38 points in his second full season with Carolina last year. Calgary also added centre Austin Czarnik, who spent the previous two seasons with Boston.
The additions come on the heels of the Flames acquiring center Elias Lindholm and defenceman Noah Hanifin in a trade that sent defenceman Dougie Hamilton, winger Micheal Ferland and college prospect Adam Fox to Carolina.
The Flames missed the playoffs for the seventh time in nine years, falling out of contention by going 5-13-1 over the final month of the season. It was a stretch during which Calgary scored three or more goals just five times and was shut out four times.