Stars trade Neal and Niskanen to Penguins for Goligoski Staff

2/21/2011 6:00:52 PM

The Dallas Stars have traded forward James Neal and defenceman Matt Niskanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenceman Alex Goligoski.

Neal has 21 goals and 39 points in 59 games for the Stars this season. He was the third-leading goal scorer on the Stars this year, trailing only Brenden Morrow and Brad Richards.

"The injuries had not had a lot to do with what I've been looking at. This is for now, plus down the line for both of these players. So that's encouraging," Penguins general manager Ray Shero said during a conference call. "There's not many of these power guys in the game. And Neal, on our list is one of the better ones in the game and has got some room to grow. That's why when you can get a guy like Neal, the opportunity might not be there again."


The 24-year-old Niskanen is signed through next year at $1.5 million. Two years ago he had six goals and 29 assists for Dallas. In 45 games for Dallas this season, he has no goals and six assists.

The Penguins needed some offence since suffering a rash of injuries that include leading star scorers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Goligoski has nine goals and 31 points in 60 games with the Penguins this season, and led all Pittsburgh players with a plus-20 rating. The 25-year-old Goligoski is signed through next season with a cap hit of $1.83 million.

"We're very excited to add Alex Goligoski to our hockey club," said Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk. "Alex is a legitimate top-four defenceman who will have a positive impact on our entire crop of blue-liners. He has averaged over 20 minutes per game and can play in all situations."

The trade is the sixth since Feb. 18 that has involved one or more defencemen. There's just one deal - a swap of goaltenders Brian Elliott and Craig Anderson between the Senators and Avalanche - that has not involved a blueliner over that time.

Neal, 23, is signed through next season with a cap hit of $2.8 million. He had 27 goals and 28 assists last season.