James Neal just might be what the New York Rangers need if they get rid of Rick Nash. All the grit, toughness, and dirty plays the Rangers could ever need could be acquired in Neal, and likely for cheaper than Nash.
Neal, who is currently under contract with the Nashville Predators, is another huge winger with a monster shot. His numbers are also strikingly similar to Rick Nash’s. In 2016-2017, Neal scored 23 goals and added 18 assists for 41 points, only three more than Nash. Oddly enough, Neal is only three years younger than Nash.
In the playoffs, Neal is as much of a ghost as Nash is. In 80 career playoff games, Neal has only 44 points and 80 penalty minutes. Of those 44 points, 25 are goals and 19 are assists. Neal has never posted more than 10 points in a single playoff in his career. His production has increased since arriving in Nashville, where he has 22 playoff points in the last three seasons.
While Neal’s playoff performances are less than ideal, he is still a veteran leader for the locker room and a big, strong right wing that the Rangers will need if they move Nash. James Neal fits with the Rangers, almost identical to the way that Rick Nash does.