Calgary signed forward James Neal to a five-year, $28.75 million contract on Monday, giving Johnny Gaudreau and the rest of the Flames a much-needed scoring boost.
Neal has topped 20 goals in each of his 10 NHL seasons, and was considered the top player left on the free-agent market a day after the NHL’s signing period opened.
The signing also comes a day after general manager Brad Treliving talked of a need to upgrade his forward positions to take the pressure off of Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk.
“One of the things we looked to address this offseason was adding depth and versatility to our forward unit,” Treliving said. “At the end of the year, I talked a little bit about us as a team relying on too few guys to do too many things.”
Calgary becomes Neal’s third team in as many seasons.
He was selected by Vegas in the NHL expansion draft a year ago, and scored 25 goals and 44 points in 71 games for the Golden Knights.
The 30-year-old Neal also played for Pittsburgh and Nashville, and has 263 goals and 495 points in 703 career games.
The Flames also signed forward Derek Ryan to a three-year, $9.375 million contract. Ryan scored 15 goals and 38 points in his second full season with Carolina last year. Calgary also added center Austin Czarnik, who spent the previous two seasons with Boston.
The Sharks have re-signed center Joe Thornton to a one-year contract and signed restricted free agent forward Tomas Hertl to a four-year deal.
The team announced the deals on Thornton’s 39th birthday Monday.
Thornton tested the free agent market last summer before returning to San Jose on a one-year, $8 million deal but was intent the whole time this year on staying with the Sharks and signed a $5 million contract.
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