Thread: Value of: James Neal
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02-20-2013, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by glovesave_35 View Post
Eh, he wasn't really that much of a PF in Dallas either. He scored plenty of goals off the rush using his shot and off the cycle; I don't recall him being much of a net presence in Dallas, though he did from time to time.

I'm going to be really honest and admit that I haven't seen much of him in Pittsburgh aside from some goal highlights and so forth, but based on what little I've seen and what Pens fans say about his game it sounds more like a situation where a young goal scorer continued to get better because he wasn't close to a finished product when he left Dallas. Also, he was used at RW from time to time in Dallas, though not for an extended period of time, to varying degrees of success. The reason he was kept at LW in Dallas was because frankly, Eriksson can play both wings and was a better player at RW than Neal was.
I agree with most of what you said. My point still is this. With Malkin, he doesn't need to do any of that. He just lets Malkin put on a circus (Malkin and Crosby, if on the powerplay) while defenders slowly drift away from James and towards 71/87. At the same time, Neal subtly drifts away from defenders and parks himself in prime shooting position. Even if he had a little power forward in his game before, it has all disappeared.

Numerous Penguins have said that Neal, while not the best overall player, has the best wrist shot they've ever seen. He is now a pure sniper, and one of the best.

"If you're going to make a book on a shooter and a guy getting open, just watch this guy play the game," coach Dan Bylsma on James Neal.

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