As you’ll see in the video above, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford mentions to Nashville Predators general manager Dave Poile that he, “has a deal for the 23rd overall pick” which was held by the Colorado Avalanche.
The Penguins and Predators ended up making a draft day deal as Pittsburgh sent James Neal to Nashville for Patric Hornqvist and Nik Spaling while the Avs held on to the 23rd pick and selected Conner Bleackley.
Adrian Dater of the Denver Post notes that the Avs could’ve been trying to trade up to ensure their pick of Bleackley or they were possibly trying to acquire Neal from the Penguins.
Thoughts: It was widely speculated throughout draft day that the Avs and Penguins were working on a deal because it seemed like Rutherford never left the Avalanche table. Talks between teams happen all the time and nothing gets completed, but, based on the video, it seems like the Avs and Penguins had a deal for at least the #23 pick that fell through for some reason. Dater speculated that the Avs might’ve been talking about dealing P.A. Parenteau for Neal and I assume, the #23 pick since that was obviously involved in the trade talks.
I doubt Avs fans would’ve been too happy with a Parenteau and #23 overall pick for Neal and it doesn’t sound like something the Avs would do. Even though Neal is a prime scorer, he’s making $5 million per season for the next four seasons. I doubt the Avs wanted to take on that contract when they were still trying to reach a deal with Paul Stastny at this point. And had they acquired Neal, who knows if they would’ve been able to add Jarome Iginla.