EDMONTON, AB - It's no secret: communication is key for Ken Holland.
On Friday, the Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager pulled the trigger on a trade that will see a 31-year-old James Neal make the move to Northern Alberta.
In a package that included Milan Lucic and a 2020 conditional third-round round pick going to Calgary, Holland leaned on his management style in his first trade with his newfound club.
"My management style is to talk to all my key people," said Holland during a phone interview with EdmontonOilers.com on Friday. "Certainly I talked to [Assistant General Manager] Keith Gretzky and I talked to [VP of Player Development] Scott Howson. I talked to [Director of Pro Scouting] Archie Henderson and obviously, I talked to [Head Coach] Dave Tippett. I spoke with Ken Hitchcock and Bob Nicholson, who then talked to Daryl Katz, our owner.
"We've had lots of internal conversations. I've talked to a lot of people in our organization over the last few weeks and eventually worked our way towards today pulling the trigger on the deal. We're excited about the deal, and I'm hoping James can come in and play great and provide some more offence for us."
While the internal conversations were strong and aplenty, as the age-old saying goes, it takes two to tango.
In this case, Holland and his trading partner, Calgary Flames General Manager Brad Treliving, maintained consistent dialogue about a Neal/Lucic swap for a number of weeks.
"He and I were talking on and off in the lead up to the draft, so middle-to-late June," said Holland. "It heated up here over the last 10 days, then early this week it got cranked up to another level. We had to ask Lucic to waive his No-Movement Clause, which he obviously did, so a few weeks.
"Some trades go quick, some trades take time."