On Monday morning TSN's Darren Dreger caused quite a stir when he reported on trade talks between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars that involved a potential James Neal for Alex Goligoski swap. Soon, Penguins beat writers were all over the news and it was a hot topic of discussion for much of the morning. By Monday afternoon, the out-of-nowhere rumor was a reality as the Stars not only sent the 23-year-old Neal to Pittsburgh, they also added in defenseman Matt Niskanen in exchange for Goligoski, as first reported by TSN's Bob McKenzie.
The meat of the deal, Neal for Goligoski, is a perfect match for the two clubs as they both deal from a position of strength to fill a position of weakness. It's a classic example of it. The Penguins, even before their mid-season run of injuries, could have used more scoring from their wing positions. while they boasted a rather large assortment of defensemen including Kris Letang, Brooks Oprik and free agent additions Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek. That quartet made Goligoski easier to give up in a deal.
The Stars, meanwhile, had the exact opposite situation with an impressive collection of forwards and a blue line that could desperately use a young, puck-moving rearguard that's also capable of quarterbacking a power play for the long haul. (They also save quite a bit of cash, which could have also played a big part in the deal as pointed out ESPN's EJ Hradek). Enter the 25-year-old Goligoski.