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Oilers Place James Neal on Waivers

The Edmonton Oilers have placed forward James Neal on waivers Saturday, in what will amount to a move to create roster flexibility.

James Neal Edmonton Oilers
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There’s virtually no chance another team picks up his contract, but the fact James Neal has been placed on waivers by the Edmonton Oilers is a telling bit of news on Saturday. The winger has struggled this season after returning from injury and illness and should he clear, it will offer the team a bit more flexibility when it comes to shifting players around.

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If the 33-year-old passes through waivers untouched (which he likely will), it offers Edmonton the option to shuffle veterans to and from the taxi squad with ease. The Oilers are already doing something similar with Devin Shore, Tyler Ennis, and Alex Chiasson. It also allows the Oilers to keep nine D-men on roster.

Should Neal be claimed by another team, this would actually be great news for the Oilers who would then clear up a considerable amount of cap space as Neal makes $5.75 million over the next three seasons.

The forward has been a healthy scratch several times already this season and while he does have a two-goal game on his resume in 2020-21, those are his only two goals of the campaign. He’s only got one other assist in his nine games and has often looked slow, or been considered an afterthought when it comes to getting into the lineup on a regular basis.

James Neal Edmonton Oilers
James Neal Edmonton Oilers

Neal Missing Games Early Hurt

It didn’t help Neal to miss the first few games of the season for the Oilers as it was those first few games last year when he was the hottest. Many of his 19 goals came in the first handful of games during the 2019-20 campaign and after some rest.

Some Calgary Flames fans are having fun with the Neal news today, suggesting the Flames won the trade that saw Lucic go to Calgary for Neal. The jury is still out on that deal as neither player has lived up to their pricy contracts, but Lucic has a no-move clause and that could explain why he’s still on that roster.

Neal had19 goals and 31 points in 55 games for the Oilers last season, 12 of those goals coming on the power play.

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