The Pittsburgh Penguins traded left winger James Neal to the Nashville Predators on Friday night during the first round of the NHL Draft for forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.
Neal finished last season with 27 goals and 61 points in 59 games. The 26-year-old missed five games after he was suspended for kneeing Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the head during a game in December.
Two years ago, Neal scored a career-high 40 goals and the Predators are hoping he provides some punch for their offense, which ranked 19th in the NHL last season.
The 27-year-old Hornqvist had 22 goals and 31 assists in 76 games this past season for the Predators. In 363 career regular-season games, he has 106 goals and 110 assists, including a career-besrt 30 goals in 2009-10.
The Predators are hoping that Neal, who is in the midst of a six-year, $30 million contract, provides punch for their offense, which ranked 19th in the NHL last season.
"I think we were just trying to change the mix of our team a little bit and get a little different type player," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said in Philadelphia during the draft. "Hornqvist plays with an edge, goes to the net, works the corners. We like his all-around play."
Spaling is a restricted free agent who had 13 goals and 19 assists in 71 games this past season.
"We like Spalding, he can play all three positions on the third line," Rutherford said. "I think we were just trying to change the mix of our team a little bit and get a little different type player."