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Flames trade Neal to Oilers for Lucic

Last Updated Jul 20, 2019 at 11:55 am MDT

Calgary Flames left wing James Neal (18) battles for the puck against Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny (6), of the Czech Republic, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

CALGARY – The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers have completed a trade that resulted in Milan Lucic and James Neal swapping sides in the Battle of Alberta.

In conversation with George Johnson with the Calgary Flames, Lucic said he found the opportunity to be himself with the Flames appealing.

“Initially, I thought no way — but no way — am I going to the other side of the Battle of Alberta,” he said. “But after talking to Brad (Treliving), talking to Bill (Peters), talking to Geoff Ward who I spent seven years with in Boston, and some guys who’d played in Calgary, it seemed to sound like a place I wanted to go; where the fit was right.”

According to Sportsnet’s Eric Francis, the Oilers would include a conditional draft pick and retain some of Lucic’s salary when the deal is completed. Lucic waved his no-trade clause in the one-for-one deal.

Lucic, 31, has four seasons remaining on the seven-year, $42-million deal he signed with the Oilers in 2016.

Neal, also 31, joined the Flames in July 2018 and was expected to add an offensive punch in Calgary but struggled to find his scoring stride to match his $5.75-million cap hit. He, too, is signed through 2022-23.