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BLOG: Neal comfortable on both wings

"I've flip-flopped between different places throughout my career and I think it's just who you have with you and where the best fit is going to be," the left-shot winger James Neal said

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - As for whether James Neal would prefer to line up on the left or right wing in the Oilers top six or on the first or second power-play unit, the left-shot forward is leaving that decision for Head Coach Dave Tippett.

"For me, it doesn't really matter," Neal said, speaking with 630CHED and Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer on Monday.

There's precedence for either, as history will show over Neal's 11-year career as a proven goalscorer in the NHL with the Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames.

Video: AUDIO | James Neal Interview 07.20.19

"I was on the left in Dallas, and when I went to Pittsburgh I changed over to the right because Evgeni Malkin was a left-handed centreman," Neal said. "You could shoot pucks on the fly and you could get pucks off quicker because it was forehand to forehand.

"It depends on what unit you're playing on and with which guys and where guys fit in the best. I've flip-flopped between different places throughout my career and I think it's just who you have with you and where the best fit is going to be. That stuff will all sort itself out."

Neal believes the depth the Oilers have in left-handed centremen like Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and the always influential Connor McDavid bodes well for his game as a player who's more willing to shoot the puck than find the final pass.

"[McDavid] makes everyone around him a lot better, and when you have a guy like that and guys like Leon and Nuge going down the line, you have a chance to win and guys that want to win really badly. 

"I think you just come into camp ready to go in the best shape that you possibly can with an open mindset. I'm just looking forward to this opportunity and this chance. It's been a great summer and I can't wait to get going."

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