Over the past few weeks New York Rangers have been connected to seemingly every defender that might be on the market, but now there is finally a rumor connecting them to a forward. Per Jesse Spector of the Daily News, the Rangers have interest in making Chris Neil the next Senator to get out of Ottawa. Neil, 31, has three goals and nine assists in 58 games this season. The strengths in Neil’s game is not his offense, but his ability to be a fighter, and he has racked up 157 penalty minutes thus far this year.
If you recall the Rangers attempted to sign Neil when he was a free agent in July of 2009 offering him a four year contract, but he chose to go back to Ottawa. Neil is under contract for two more seasons at $2 million per season.
I understand the desire to lessen Prust’s fighting responsibilities, which is a reason that Spector says the Rangers have interest, but John Tortorella is on record saying that he does not want players who only fight and right now fighting is the main skill Neil brings to the table. It is tough to see which player he would replace in the lineup once Ruslan Fedotenko comes back and the salary hit is a huge problem, especially with the team already being on the hook for three more seasons of Derek Boogaard. There are bigger needs for the club than another fighter, especially at this kind of salary commitment, so hopefully Sather will pass on this idea.