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Neal expecting big things from Roy, Predators

NHL.com @NHL

Nashville Predators forward James Neal arrived in town this week and is getting to know his new teammates at informal skates.

But Neal already met one of them, center Derek Roy, working out with Gary Roberts this summer.

"[Derek] came in and trained with us; he looks great," Neal told the Predators website Friday. "He had a great summer training. I worked out with him every day; he was good in the gym and he looked great on the ice, so we expect a big year out of him."

James Neal
Left Wing - NSH
GOALS: 27 | ASST: 34 | PTS: 61
SOG: 238 | +/-: 15
If Roy does have a big year, it could help Neal have one too, with the veterans looking to increase the Predators' offense under new coach Peter Laviolette.

Roy has been hindered by injury the past four seasons, since he had 35 points in 35 games for the Buffalo Sabres in 2010-11, following 69- and 70-point full seasons the two prior.

Neal, a right wing, scored 88 goals in 179 games over the past three seasons for the Pittsburgh Penguins playing primarily with center Evgeni Malkin.

"It's exciting for a new challenge," Neal said. "I couldn't be in a better spot [with] all the changes coming here, going to be more of an offensive team. And that's the way I love to play, so, perfect fit."

Neal, who was traded to the Predators on June 27 for forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling, said he's worked out with Roberts every summer since he was 15 years old.

"Always trying to get faster and stronger," said Neal, who turned 27 on Sept. 3. "The game's so quick, so if you want to play for as long as you can, these years are definitely crucial and you want to train as long as you can."

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