Pens get Neal from Stars for Goligoski

The Pittsburgh Penguins have filled a giant need on offense, acquiring right wing James Neal, along with defenseman Matt Niskanen, from the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Alex Goligoski.

Neal, 23, has scored at least 20 goals in all three of his NHL seasons, including 21 in 59 games this season.

The 33rd pick of the 2005 Entry Draft, Neal has 72 goals and 131 points in 214 games in three seasons.

However, with the emergence of All-Star Loui Eriksson, as well as the promising Jamie Benn, the Stars could afford to ship out a right wing if meant upgrading their offensive firepower from the back end.

Goligoski, 25, has 9 goals and 31 points in 60 games this season, numbers that easily should eclipse the 8 goals and 37 points he had last season, his first full NHL campaign.

"We're very excited to add Alex Goligoski to our hockey club," said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. "Alex is a legitimate top-four defenseman who will have a positive impact on our entire corps of blueliners. He has averaged over 20 minutes per game and can play in all situations."

With All-Star Kris Letang quarterbacking the first power-play unit, as well as a solid puck-mover in Paul Martin signed over the summer, the Penguins could afford to sacrifice a player of Goligoski's talent to upgrade an offense that's missing Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz.

A 2004 second-round pick, Goligoski has 23 goals and 90 points in 170 NHL games, as well as 10 points in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Niskanen, 24, was the 25th pick of the 2008 Entry Draft. He had 26 points as a rookie in 2007-08 and 35 points the following season, but has struggled since then. This season, he has just 6 assists in 45 games.

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