When the protection lists for tonight’s NHL Expansion Draft were released earlier this week, many eyebrows were raised at inclusion of Nashville Predators forward James Neal. The 29 year-old sniper is a former 40 goal scorer who managed 23 goals and 41 points with the Preds in 2016-17 and still has plenty of gas left in the tank.
Why would general manager David Poile seemingly give up on Neal? There must be a side deal in place, thought most analysts. However, today’s developments reveal that that’s likely not the case. TSN insider Bob McKenzie reported that he expects Neal will indeed be selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, but regardless his future is still up in the air.
Interesting. McKenzie’s theory is that Neal could be selected and then flipped to another team for a different asset. Of course, he could be retained and factor into the team’s top six scoring for 2017-18. He’ll need a new contract next season if he’s to remain in the Nevada desert, however.