After spending time with Penguins general manager Ray Shero a few weeks ago, an NHL agent predicted a busy trade-deadline period wouldn't pass without Shero making a move.

Correctly, the agent noted, Shero always makes a move at or before the deadline.

The move Shero made Monday was unlike any during his five-year tenure with the Penguins.

For the cost of defenseman Alex Goligoski, the Penguins landed another defenseman slotted for the No. 5 spot, Matt Niskanen.

However, the real prize they acquired from the Dallas Stars was left wing James Neal - a big, strong, cannon-shot left winger who has scored at least 20 goals in each of his NHL seasons.

The difference between Neal and past deadline-period wingers acquired by Shero - Gary Roberts (2007), Marian Hossa (2008), Bill Guerin (2009) and Alexei Ponikarovsky (2010)? Each of those guys had played in the Stanley Cup playoffs before coming to the Penguins. Neal has not.

Then again, Neal is only 23 - the same age as center Sidney Crosby.

When assessing this latest deadline-period deal by Shero -- which drew near universal praise from fans and media on social media sites -- don't pay too much attention to the weeks ahead.

Sure, Neal will be expected to help the Penguins solidify their standing as an upper-echelon Eastern Conference club - a standing they've maintained despite playing most of the past three weeks without players who have provided about half of their goals.

A short-term look at Neal is not one the Penguins are hoping to take. He, like Niskanen and Goligoski, will play next season as the last on a current contract.