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Get To Know: James Neal

by Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

James Neal
- 18

Birthplace: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

How acquired: June 27, 2014 from Pittsburgh in exchange for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling

Former Clubs: Pittsburgh Penguins, Dallas Stars

NHL Totals: 413 GP, 161 G, 154 A, 315 PTS, 349 PIM

Fun Facts: Has a Blue Pitbull named Nixon; favorite band is Kings of Leon; guilty pleasure is McDonald’s

Analysis: Neal is a pure-goal scorer with a wicked release. He has never potted less than 21 goals over the course of a season in his six NHL campaigns and has averaged just under .5 goals per game over the last three seasons. Neal will be counted on to put the puck in the net, especially in timely situations.

What They’re Saying:

Neal: “With all of the changes that are happening [in Nashville], a new coaching staff, new faces and new players, it’s a little easier for me coming in. Everyone’s got a different role coming here. I think we have a good feel for how we’re going to play [as a team]. It’s up tempo, we’re going to be fast, [we’re going to get] in on the forecheck and we’re going to be relentless. That’s the way I like to play so it’s going to be a good fit.”

Mike Ribeiro: “[Neal is] a shooter, so most of the time those guys like to tell you what they want, where they want the puck and what they like and don’t like. It’s good that I know him (They played together in Dallas). He’s a quicker player with the puck with a quicker release, and he’s just telling me what he likes, what he doesn’t like and it’s up to me to adjust myself to him.”

Peter Laviolette: “I coached against James in Philadelphia when he was in Pittsburgh and I can stand here confidently and tell you that this guy is a natural goal scorer. The puck gets on his stick and it has a good chance of going in the net… We got a real piece who can help change the makeup and identity of our team.”

Photo credit: John Russell

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