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What is James Neal's ceiling?

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01-21-2013, 06:28 PM
  #1
theicebox
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What is James Neal's ceiling?

In both games, when Neal holds the puck, he gives an 'elite' vibe, not a 'second-wheel' vibe.

What is his ceiling in terms of both his point total peak, and a historic/current player comparison? I remember hearing Doan after we traded for him. Finally, will he ever be in the Richard conversation (not necessarily win, but at least in the conversation).

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01-21-2013, 06:35 PM
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mpp9
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He has an elite shot and ability to find open space. If he can continue to develop his physical game and use his puck hawk style to dominate along the boards, he's gonna be everything we could hope for in a winger.

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01-21-2013, 06:40 PM
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I doubt he'll put up much more than he did last season. On a regular basis, 35/70. The odd season, 40-45g/80+pts. If everything goes perfectly, 50/80.

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01-21-2013, 06:43 PM
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Ceiling in a full season is not too far above what he did last year probably I'd say 90 pts max, 45/45 would be a career year most likely. More regularly I think between 35-37G, 38-40A will be pretty common. So he might get honorable mention in Richard conversation during years where nobody is scoring 110 pts that sort of thing, AND he is at the high end of his scale, but in general I don't think he's quite got that ability. If he could learn to do more with the puck when not shooting he might create some extra chances for himself but I'm not worried about it.

Just be physical and score goals and it's all we need. Just waiting for Geno to start getting some great looks once teams realize "oh yah, 'force Neal to beat us' isn't going to work real well, because he can beat us" and focus more stopping both players instead of just Geno. That's the beauty; they open space for one another.

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01-21-2013, 06:47 PM
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mpp9
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I don't see a reason why he can't hit 50 if he's getting prime looks on the PP and Geno starts becoming more of a playmaker.

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01-21-2013, 06:48 PM
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His ceiling is however big his house is.

But seriously. He has the potential to be a #1 Winger, on a par with the likes of Iginla in his prime.

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01-21-2013, 07:04 PM
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In a year with a complementary winger on that line and a healthy Crosby and dangerous winger on the other top line (drawing some top defensive assignments), I could see him -- if the stars align re: health and luck -- hitting the 50-goal mark and maybe getting a couple more in 82 games.

Unlikely, but I think possible. Fans ought to confidently pencil him in for 35-43 goals in the next few full seasons.

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01-21-2013, 07:18 PM
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After last season I said he just had his career and would most likely settle in as a consistent 35ish goal/70-75 point player but after the first two games seeing how he and Malkin click I am starting to wonder if we'll see a lot of 40-45 goal/85-90 point seasons from him.

Funny this is the same guy that had 1 goal and 6 points in his first 20 games with Pittsburgh, at that point most were probably all thinking still a 50-55 point player.

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01-21-2013, 07:21 PM
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I think he should be a steady PPG winger with Malkin and get around 40 goals every year. If Malkin goes on to destroy the league one year I could see a 50 goal season and 100 points but I think anything more then an PPG depends greatly on Malkin.

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01-21-2013, 07:31 PM
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I'm completely content if he has hit his ceiling already.

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01-21-2013, 07:51 PM
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He's already hit his ceiling. He's not a guy who generates offense on his own, he's just such an automatic triggerman who can find the soft spots and make smart little passing plays.

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01-21-2013, 08:03 PM
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If our powerplay clicked and Sid + Geno were healthy for a full year, I do think 50g is a possibility for Neal. An outside possibility.

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01-21-2013, 08:10 PM
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I wouldn't say he's hit his ceiling. He can still improve his two-way game a bit (not that he's lacking in this area). And, he can learn to improve the physical edge of his game. I'm less interested in the possible statistical boosts he could see in the future and more focused upon his ability to take over a game on his own. As he approaches and enters his prime, I think that's something we might see.

Key word being might, it should be noted that plenty of players do not reach their ceilings.

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01-21-2013, 08:26 PM
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I completely believe Neal will score 50 at least once in his career.

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01-21-2013, 08:30 PM
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mpp9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowdy Roddy Peeper View Post
He's already hit his ceiling. He's not a guy who generates offense on his own, he's just such an automatic triggerman who can find the soft spots and make smart little passing plays.
I think he has room to grow as an all around player. Be more physical on a consistent level. Develop some playmaking ability as he becomes more comfortable with Geno.

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01-23-2013, 03:01 AM
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Of course, this is purely subjective, and nobody is right or wrong at the present moment. Father time will decide that for us. James Neal is our version of the 90's John Leclair. I don't care if they play the same game. He has fantastic chemistry with an elite centerman (Evgeni Malkin), much like Leclair had with Eric Lindros. Both are big boys on the wing, that possess amazing shots. Neal can play with a chip on his shoulder, but he doesn't use his physicality enough to be a true power forward. Then again, I don't get to see the number of games you get to. I saw maybe a max of a dozen-or-so games, including playoffs. They just simply don't play enough Pens games where I live, but I do see plenty of the Jets being a season ticket holder and all. I am just happy to have a team, even if it's nothing compared to what you guys have. I think he could top out at 50 goals. I mean guys like your Jonathan Cheechoos did it in this NHL playing with Joe Thornton. I don't think there is much difference between a 2005/06 prime Big Joe and a 26-year-old Malkin. I just think it's ignorant to say Neal doesn't have the potential there given his skillsets, and the right chips/environment lined up for him. Not saying it will happen, it could happen.

Having said that, we can all agree that Neal is better than Cheechoo. Granted the 05/06 season was a mess. Many guys, like your Scott Gomezs, Brian Giontas, Eric Staals, etc were producing far above their usual production because of two years worth of rookies filling in roster gaps and many guys trying to get back into game shape/sharpness.

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01-23-2013, 03:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowdy Roddy Peeper View Post
He's already hit his ceiling. He's not a guy who generates offense on his own, he's just such an automatic triggerman who can find the soft spots and make smart little passing plays.
For the most part I agree. I think he can grow slightly defensively, but that's about it.

He's still way above what his ceiling was supposed to be. I love that trade.

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01-23-2013, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Big McLargehuge View Post
For the most part I agree. I think he can grow slightly defensively, but that's about it.

He's still way above what his ceiling was supposed to be. I love that trade.
Yeah, many of us had him pegged to be a 30-30 guy. Maybe at most a 35-30-65 guy. Love that he is far exceeding all our expectations.

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01-23-2013, 03:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big McLargehuge View Post
For the most part I agree. I think he can grow slightly defensively, but that's about it.

He's still way above what his ceiling was supposed to be. I love that trade.
The Stars' fans are still upset over that trade. Summed up pretty much by this picture when he scored his third:



From what I was reading Goligoski is not coming along all that well there. That said he is young and defensemen notoriously hit their peak later than almost any other position.

His ceiling? Depends on if we resign Malkin. If so it is not his ceiling so much as it is obvious he will consistently give you a lot of what we saw last year for the next six years or so.

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01-23-2013, 04:28 AM
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The amount of primary assists Malkin has on Neal goals is.... ridiculous.
Obviously Neal's shot also help boost Malkin's production, but Neal benefits more from playing with Malkin than the other way around.

So, points wise.... PPG while playing with Malkin (or I suppose Crosby) is about it, I think, which is fabulous in itself. Could break 50 goals also if we have a major offensive year. He gets enough tickets.

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01-23-2013, 09:25 AM
  #21
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I think last season will be the top in his career production wise, he is a well above average complimentary player who has a deadly shot. That said he doesn't seem to create much offense by himself. We see glimpses of it at times, like his playoff goal against Philly, but his production totally hinges upon playing with Geno.

That being said, around 40 goals and 41 assists each year will make me a very happy fan. Can he hit 50? I don't think so personally, but it wouldn't blow my mind if he did. The trade GMRS made to get him AND Nisky looks completely ridiculous right now, he is truly a master in black magic.

If Neal can keep playing the way he has in the first two games, I may eat crow here, but I see him being a streaky player throughout his career. And I'm fine with that.

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01-23-2013, 09:27 AM
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I think he could hit 100 pts in a season.

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01-23-2013, 10:09 AM
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I think 100 points is possible too if everything goes right. I do believe he will have a 90 point season at some point. He may not be able to create something out of nothing on his own very often (like Kovalev or Datsyuk can, two guys who have never hit 100 points) but he is incredibly smart, knows how to find holes in coverage, has a great release and incredible chemistry with arguably the best player in the game. We really are spoiled.

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01-23-2013, 10:23 AM
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Jill Sandwich
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You saw it last year. He was 7th in league scoring. That will probably never happen again. If his numbers go up, it's because league scoring went up.

For the 50 goals, 100 points crowd... 1 person scored 100 points last year, 2 people scored 50 goals. James Neal is not going to win an Art Ross and probably won't win a Richard (there's always the Cheechoo situation).

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01-23-2013, 10:24 AM
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stefanh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tender Rip View Post
The amount of primary assists Malkin has on Neal goals is.... ridiculous.
Obviously Neal's shot also help boost Malkin's production, but Neal benefits more from playing with Malkin than the other way around.

So, points wise.... PPG while playing with Malkin (or I suppose Crosby) is about it, I think, which is fabulous in itself. Could break 50 goals also if we have a major offensive year. He gets enough tickets.
I think Malkin have the primary assist on all three Neal goals so far this season, I'll have a look at last season.

Now checked it out Geno assisted on 28 of Neals goals 22 of them were primary.


Last edited by stefanh: 01-23-2013 at 10:37 AM.
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