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NHL Rules that Flames will Acquire 3rd from Oilers for Lucic-Neal Trade

A surprising ruling in my opinion

NHL: JAN 11 Oilers at Flames Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the biggest questions on the minds of Flames and Oilers fans during the pandemic lockdown was what would happen to the conditional third round pick as part of the James Neal - Milan Lucic trade from last summer.

To refresh your memory, the Oilers were only to owe Calgary the aforementioned pick if Neal scored 21 or more goals in the regular season, and Lucic scored 10 or fewer goals than Neal. At the time of the stoppage, Neal had 19 goals with 11 games to go, while Lucic had 8 goals with 12 games to go.

Both sides had legitimate arguments to make based on the unprecedented situation of the pandemic, with the Flames saying that Neal was on pace to break 21 goals had the season not stopped. On the other hand Edmonton could make the case that the deal said 21 goals and too bad so sad that he didn’t get there as the result of something out of their control.

The NHL has officially ruled now that the Flames are to receive a 3rd round selection either of 2020 or 2021 from the Oilers. The Flames had previously traded a 3rd round pick to Chicago for Erik Gustafsson, but with the condition that it would be the higher of the two picks should they receive Edmonton. Edmonton has the ability to decide which pick they send up until the start of the 3rd round in the 2020 draft meaning they could leave Calgary uncertain for a long time.

Personally I felt finding a way to settle in the middle (say a 5th round pick) might have made sense, and I know other people threw around the idea of a compensatory pick created by the NHL at the end of the third round like we see in other sports. Either way, this has to feel like a victory for the Flames.