Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Grades: Assessing Each Transaction in 2014-15

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Grade: B

Jim Rutherford started his Pittsburgh Penguins tenure with a bang by trading away former 40-goal scorer James Neal. While changes were expected, trading Neal came as a shock to a lot of Pens fans.

There was a lot of doubt in the infancy of this swap. For a team that struggled to find offense outside of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, why trade away your most prolific scorer? Neal is arguably one of the better snipers in the league when put in the right situation, which he proved playing alongside Geno.

That was until we got a glimpse of what Patric Horqvist would bring to this team. The doubters quickly changed their tune, myself included, and many look at Hornqvist as a pivotal piece of this roster at this point.

I graded this trade a B due to Nick Spaling being included. Mainly because of the $2.2 million he fetched as a restricted free agent. He added forward depth and played well defensively, but he isn’t a $2.2 million player. I personally would have preferred a draft pick.