Ray Shero’s Best Moments As Pens GM

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3.  James Neal Puts On The Black and Gold

James Neal, #18 of the Pittsburgh Penguins, watches his teammates in warm-ups before a game in the 2012 season. Photo Courtesy of: http://www.fanpop.com/fans/nickfanatic_10

Date: February 21st, 2011

Official Trade: James Neal and Matt Niskanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars

This trade was necessary.

Ray Shero wanted to be able to contend in the playoffs and he did it the best way he could when he went out and acquired Neal.

With the team losing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to injuries during the 2010-2011 season, the Penguins were once again in desperate need for some help at the forward position.

There’s no question that James Neal struggled in his first couple games with the team.

The 27 games he played in with the Pens, he only registered eight points.

However the following season with the Pens, Neal was electrified when he was paired up with Russian dynamo Evgeni Malkin.

In 80 regular-season games, Neal posted 81 points (40G, 41A) — a huge upgrade from a year ago.

Earning a trip to the NHL All-Star Game that January — the trade Shero had spun was looking more genius by the minute.

Goligoski was a very good offensive defenseman in his time with the Penguins, posting 31 points in his departing season.

However, he lacked quality defensive ability — which case has really shown in his time with the Dallas Stars so far.

Although this trade was highly criticized when it first occurred (even by me), it turned out successful for the Pens in the long run.