James Neal didn’t have what you’d call a “good” postseason for the Pittsburgh Penguins. In fact, he should be plying Sidney Crosby with copious amounts of beer for distracting everyone from the fact that he had two goals and two assists in 13 games – failing to tally a goal in his last six games – while amassing 24 penalty minutes.
He had 61 points in 59 games in the regular season while playing with his usual edge; former referee Paul Stewart infamously said he embodies “the worst about the NHL,” which seems harsh.
So it’s not been the best go of it for Neal … but could it be bad enough that he requested a trade?
That’s what 105.9 The X broadcaster Mark Madden said on his show on Wednesday: That Neal has requested a trade during the season.
Neal has three more seasons on a deal that pays him $5 million per season and a no-trade clause that kicks in during the 2015-16 season.
Does he want out?
Neal was quick to respond to the rumor, via Twitter:
All of these rumors couldn't be further from the truth. I love being a Pittsburgh Penguin. I hope to remain a Penguin and win as a Penguin.— James Neal (@jneal_18) May 23, 2014
So there you go. Neal’s not going anywhere … even if Johnny Feulner of Pens Labyrinth wants him out:
I don’t care about his name, his regular-season stats, or that he’s the third-best forward Pittsburgh has. The fact is the guy doesn’t show up in the playoffs. And while Crosby didn’t either this year, you obviously aren’t getting rid of him. Neal has a fantastic shot, there’s no denying that. However, that’s all he really has. And if anything, it’s because of his rocket shot that keeps Evgeni Malkin from shooting more – which he needs to.
In fairness, Neal also has a boyish charm.