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Pens get Neal and Niskanen; Send Goligoski to Stars

by Dewayne Hankins / Los Angeles Kings
One thing is true about this year's deadline, teams aren't waiting until the last minute to fill needs. In the third big trade of the weekend, the Stars acquired some much needed help on the blue line trading for the Penguins' Alex Goligoski. In return, the Penguins added help up front for now and in the future with James Neal while also hoping they can get Matt Niskanen's career back on track.

Effectively, the Stars wanted to get a proven puck-moving defenseman and got one in Goligoski. The Minnesota native was among the top four blueliners in Pittsburgh and we'll likely be the top defenseman on Dallas, especially when you consider what Stars had to give up to get him.

In three seasons in the NHL, James Neal has tallied at least 20 goals in all of them. He's a proven goal-scorer from the left side and he'll provide some much-needed help up front for the injury-plagued Pens. And when Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby do make it back from injury, Neal will fill a complimentary role up front and be another serious scoring threat.

Getting Niskanen as part of the deal, the Penguins are hoping he can recapture some of the magic of his first two seasons in Dallas. The Minnesota native fell off his career production averages during the 2009-10 season and this year has just six assists in 45 games. In his first two seasons, Niskanen combined for 13 goals and 48 assists.

In the end, both teams had to give up a lot to get what they wanted. The Penguins let go of a promising top offensive dman and the Stars gave up one of their young consistent offensive talents and a blueliner who is still young enough to figure things out.
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