There is always talk about who came out on the better side of any trade. Who got the best player? Who got ripped off? Well, in the case of the 2014 trade between the two current Stanley Cup participants, it looks like an even trade. Adam Vingan of the Tennessean looks at the trade that sent James Neal from Pittsburgh to the Nashville Predators for Patric Hornqvist and the impact they have had on their respective clubs.
Neal, who was a winger for many top-line centers including Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, went from being a sidekick to a sniper wing. His 90 goals in three seasons (playoff goals included) has been a key to the Predators’ offensive success as they allowed him to be a focal point to their offense. This year, he has put up 23 goals and 18 assists, including another five playoff goals. The Penguins had enough scorers, according to general manager Jim Rutherford. What they wanted was a passionate team leader. Hornqvist turned out to be that guy. He still provides plenty of offense (83 goals in three seasons – playoffs included) and has made an impact on the locker room.
- Nashville’s Mike Fisher has been cleared to play and is expected to play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins after suffering from a head injury, according to Adam Vingan of the Tennessean. Fisher, the team’s captain, sat out for the final two games against the Anaheim Ducks since he was inadvertently kneed in the head by Ducks’ defenseman Josh Manson during Game 4 on March 18. The 36-year-old center has been the team’s emotional leader since acquired in 2011 from the Ottawa Senators. His 18 goals and 24 assists continue to be solid, although he has not tallied a point in 14 playoff games so far.
- Vingan also says that forward Craig Smith is cleared to play in tomorrow’s Game 1 against the Penguins. Smith, who played in just one game in the second and third series due to a lower-body injury, could get into the lineup Monday. The 27-year-old center has scored 12 goals and 17 assists this season.