Neal betting on Roy having a big season

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The Nashville Predators quest to bolster their offense led to the acquisition of James Neal, but they weren’t able to sign or trade for a top-tier center to play alongside him. Instead, the Predators tried to nab a diamond in the rough by inking Olli Jokinen, Mike Ribeiro, and Derek Roy.

When it comes to Roy, Neal has already gotten very familiar with him. Although the two have never played on the same team, Roy joined Neal during his training sessions with Gary Roberts over the summer.

“[Derek] came in and trained with us; he looks great,” Neal said, per NHL.com. “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.”

At his height, Roy had 32 goals and 81 points in 78 games with Buffalo in 2007-08. He’s had endured some rough seasons more recently, but at 31 he’s still young enough to bounce back.

Meanwhile, Neal is looking forward to starting the next chapter of his career with Nashville. He excelled with Pittsburgh, averaging close to a point-per-game during his tenure with them and recorded 40 goals in 2011-12. He gelled with Evgeni Malkin, but now he’ll have to prove that he’s capable of performing at that level without one of the league’s top centers playing alongside him.