For fans of the Flames and Oilers that have been awaiting the final decision on the James Neal–Milan Lucic trade, the verdict is in. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports (Twitter link) that Edmonton will have to transfer a third-round pick in either 2020 or 2021 to Calgary to complete the trade. The Oilers will have until the start of the third round in October’s draft to choose whether they will transfer the selection this year or wait until the next draft.
The issue in this trade was in the wording of the rather unique conditions that were put on the deal. In the original swap, Neal had to have at least 21 goals and Lucic ten or fewer. Neal was at 19 when the season was shut down due to COVID-19 while Lucic was at eight so only the second element was met. However, by extrapolating Neal’s output over a full 82-game season, he scored at a 23-goal pace. It appears the league used a similar interpretation with the awarding of the draft pick.
It’s worth noting that Edmonton is currently without their second-round pick for the next two years from their acquisition of Andreas Athanasiou. They also are without their fourth-rounder in 2020 from the Mike Green pickup.
The NHL has also tweaked the terms of the Kings-Maple Leafs trade that saw Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford go to Toronto. Johnston notes in a separate tweet that Toronto will owe a 2021 second-round pick if they win their Qualifying Round series against Columbus and Campbell gets two or more wins or if Clifford re-signs. The original terms of the deal had the pick transferring if the Maple Leafs made the playoffs and Campbell winning six games or Clifford re-signing. If those don’t happen, then a 2021 third-round pick will be transferred to Los Angeles.
A decision has also been made on the conditional pick involved in the Hurricanes’ acquisition of Sami Vatanen from the Devils at the trade deadline and as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports in a Twitter thread, the details are a bit more complex.
If Carolina beats New York in the Qualifying Round series and Vatanen plays in 70% or more of their playoff games, the Hurricanes send New Jersey their 2020 third-round pick. If Vatanen doesn’t play in 70% or more of the playoff games but plays in two or more contests against the Rangers, then two more scenarios present themselves. In that situation, if Carolina wins the series, the Devils get Carolina’s 2020 fourth-rounder. If he plays at least twice but the Rangers win, then Carolina gets to pick between sending a 2020 or a 2021 fourth-round selection. If none of this plays out, then no pick transfers.
This closes the books on the remaining questions surrounding conditional trades with the league ruling back in May on ones that had picks contingent on making the playoffs. Teams will have to be in the final 16 teams in order to be classified as a playoff team for the purpose of those trades.
NHL history has numerous players that were at, say, 19 goals with two, three, or even four weeks to play. They finished their season short of the magical 20. Dear Bettman, you can’t project someone’s goal total based on a pandemic-shortened season. If he didn’t get to X number of goals, he didn’t get there. Now, are you going to tell teams that have to pay bonuses on “projected” goal/assist totals, too? Are you going to give those players the artificially pumped-up stats in the record books? There is no legitimacy in “Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda”…
^ I disagree. Something had to be done to appease both sides and projected totals are relatively accurate and hard to argue against for either side.
@pawtucket – The problem is in the EDM-CGY situation, only one side can get what they want, not both. And, projected totals are still bogus, because if you project his goal totals, then you have to project the likelihood of injury, too. Neal missed quite a bit of time due to injury, and as is usually the case, it takes a while to get your rhythm back. Which means, no legit projected goal totals. Looch has been a streaky scorer for a while now, so the same goes for him. He might have gone on a tear, or just coasted the season out. Either way, I think the final actual goal totals should have been used, with the trade conditions based only on that. Just my two cents…
Lucic might’ve gone on a goal tear? Lol
@SuperSinker – Almost anything’s possible…*almost* ;)
I think the league made prudent decisions on these trade conditions. Never a perfect solution.
@Gbear – “Never a perfect solution.” You know, maybe that should be the NHL’s new slogan! ;) Just wait until the boys chime in tomorrow on THSL. Hopefully this week they won’t forget who’s coaching in Vegas like D.P. did for Nashville…
D.P. – “I forgot John Hynes was the head coach in Nashville!”
Nashville – “What do you mean John Hynes is our coach???”
@Mac – The Preds play by play guy, Pete Weber, thought the Preds were playing the Oilers during their game vs Dallas the other day…..Hal Gill finally corrected him that they were playing in Edmonton but not against them. :D
In the Neal vs Lucic case they maybe should have taken the play-in round into consideration without mentioning it. Wait and see a bit to make the final conclussion. Neal was still on IR when season ended if i remember correctly. Give that series as the deal breaker. If Neal gets 2 more than Lucic, CGY gets the pick, if not EDM holds it.