The Vegas Golden Knights have made their selection and they’ve chosen to take James Neal from the Nashville Predators.
A career 12.0% shooter, Neal has scored 238 goals in 632 games in the NHL. The Predators acquired Neal in a June 2014 trade with Pittsburgh involving Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. Since then, Neal scored 77 goals for the Predators, including 14 game-winning goals.
Neal has been among the most consistent goal scorers for the Predators over the last three seasons. He has the 2nd most goals, the 2nd most shots, the 3rd best shooting percentage, and the 5th most power play goals in that span. He is one of the 25 best shooters in the NHL, which puts him on a rather elite list.
Losing a player like Neal hurts.
So now David Poile must turn to free agency or the trade market to try and replace an elite shooter. The good news is that Poile has recently shown an aptitude for making the right trade at the right time. Also he now has $5 million extra to work with, which he will no doubt use to sign guys like Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson.
Still... I will miss Nealer because of moments like this: