Cashing in: James Neal signs six-year, $30 million extension with Pittsburgh


Getting to skate on a line with Evgeni Malkin would be nice for most players in the league. For a talented guy like James Neal it’s been nothing short of magic for the Penguins this season and with Neal due to be a restricted free agent after the season, Pittsburgh’s brass wanted to make sure he stays in town.

The Penguins signed Neal to a six-year, $30 million extension to stay with the team and continue to ride shotgun on Malkin’s wing.

Penguins GM Ray Shero knew that the more Neal continued to pump in goals, the higher Neal’s price tag would rise. Rewarding him with a deal that will be worth $5 million a year against the cap works out well for both sides, especially if Neal keeps scoring goals the way he has this year.

With Sidney Crosby’s status seemingly always in the air and Jordan Staal missing time for a bit as well, Neal and Malkin have teamed up to provide the offense they would’ve otherwise missed out on this season. Neal himself has been a sniper the likes of which Pittsburgh hasn’t seen in town in a long time.

Ryan Smyth isn’t going anywhere, wants new contract with Oilers

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It’s no secret that Ryan Smyth loves it in Edmonton and now he wants to make sure he stays there for good.

The veteran winger’s name has been bandied about in trade deadline speculation but he tells Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal that he wants a new deal with the team for next season to guarantee that he’s not heading out of town even as a rental.

“My ultimate goal is to sign a new contract with the Oilers, ideally before the trade deadline,” said Smyth, who turns 36 in a week. “Yeah, I want that.”

Matheson says that Smyth hasn’t told Oilers GM Steve Tambellini that he’s not interested in being traded but Smyth believes it to be understood that that’s the case since neither side has talked about being traded this year.

While the floundering Oilers looked like one team that could’ve been busy at the trade deadline, they’ve opted to do things differently by locking up defenseman Andy Sutton and are even in talks with impending free agent Ales Hemsky about signing long-term in Edmonton. If they don’t come to an understanding there, he’s likely to be traded by the deadline.

With the young talent in Edmonton ready to break out in the future and become a force in the West, you can understand why guys want to stick around.

Andy Sutton signs one-year extension with Edmonton

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Call him an expert if you want to, but if defenseman Andy Sutton was looking to make sure he wasn’t going to be traded he’s done just that.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie confirms weekend reports that Sutton is signing a one-year extension to stay with the Edmonton Oilers. McKenzie says the deal is worth $1.5 million with $250,000 in games played bonuses possible. This season with the Oilers, Sutton has three goals and six assists to go with his 56 penalty minutes in 33 games.

(Update: Here’s the Oilers’ release on the re-signing)

Sutton is a physical presence on the blue line to the point of distraction at times after being suspended a couple times this season for different questionable hits including an eight-game ban for a hit on Jeff Skinner. That kind of toughness and leadership was something Oilers GM Steve Tambellini apparently appreciates though as he would’ve had the opportunity to deal him at the trade deadline this year. That’s all changed now as Sutton won’t be going anywhere now on February 27.

Flames sign Derek Smith for two years, $1.55M

Derek Smith is sidelined with a high-ankle sprain, but he’s probably feeling quite a bit better today. The Calgary Flames handed the undrafted defenseman a two-year, $1.55 million contract extension on Wednesday.

It’s a one-way deal, which means that Smith will be paid the same amount even if he gets demoted to the minors. That must be music to his ears because Smith battled his way to a roster spot in training camp.

Smith has a respectable 10 points in the 32 games that haven’t been wrecked by injuries this season. Smith logged 16:40 minutes per game, with a little under 30 seconds of shorthanded time and a minute and a half of PP time on average.

Smith is 27 years old, which means that he straddles the line between what most people seem to want in Calgary (a rebuild) and the reality GM Jay Feaster is presenting (holding onto veterans while desperately hoping for a playoff run).

Stars extend Goligoski for four years, $18.4 million


With how well James Neal is playing for Pittsburgh this season, it’s only right to wonder how Alex Goligoski is working out for Dallas after the two were traded for each other last season.

Turns out Goligoski is doing just fine for the Stars as they’ve announced they’ve signed Goligoski to a four-year extension worth $18.4 million.

Goligoski’s extension works out to a cap hit of $4.6 million over the next four years. Goligoski was set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason but will instead stick around in Dallas for what works out to be a $2.8 million raise per year against the cap. Not bad for the former Penguins second round pick out of Minnesota.

Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk is putting his faith and money behind the 26-year-old defenseman.  After scoring 14 goals and adding a career-high 46 points last season, the Stars are banking on Goligoski having more big seasons like that in the future.