Los Angeles (AFP) - The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames traded a pair of high-priced forwards Friday in a deal that sees James Neal and Milan Lucic switch allegiances in the Battle of Alberta rivalry.
The Oilers dealt underperforming Lucic to the Flames for Neal, who won a silver medal with Canada at the 2009 World Championships in Switzerland. Calgary will also receive a third round draft pick.
Neal, who guided the expansion Vegas Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup finals two seasons ago, is the more likely of the two to have a bounce back season next year.
While Neal has scored at least 20 goals in four of his last five seasons, the 31-year-old Lucic is edging closer to retirement after scoring just 16 goals over the past two years.
Neal was made expendable because of a high priced contract that will see him make $5.75 million per season over the next four years. Lucic will earn $6 million a season over that time.
Neal was originally chosen in the second round of the 2005 NHL draft by the Dallas Stars.
He brings solid leadership to the Oilers with a resume that includes scoring 11 points in 20 games in helping lead the Golden Knights to the 2018 NHL finals where they lost to the Washington Capitals in five games.
He has been bothered of late by a hand injury which required surgery.
Lucic struggled mightily with the Oilers this past season, scoring just six goals in 79 games.