Hard To Say Good-bye.

If I were to bring up this line combo;

Daugavins – Smith – Condra

What would be your reaction?

Most (I presume) would laud its former glory, and wonder why it hasn’t been seen more of in recent days, particularly when the Sens seemed to be lacking ooomph during this four game skid.

Well, there are two reasons.

Jessie Winchester and Chris Neil.

In the formers case, he has been injured, and his loss from the line-up has resulted in a bit of a mash-up 4th line, composed of Daugavins, Konopka and Butler.  Despite its best efforts this line has been in-effective, being neither beast nor fowl.

As for Neil, here’s a guy, if he played on a more talented roster, would be an impact 3rd liner, but on the Sens lacks the complimentary talent to really shine.  Currently playing with Smith and Condra, who has not been all that he can be.

So what will happen once Winnie comes back?

The easy answer is Butler comes out, but that may not be where it ends, and a lot will depend on how this team performs between now and the deadline as to what will happen long-term for this roster.

The fact is Chris Neil represents a very marketable commodity to a team looking to make a deep post season run.  He has a tonne of experience, is a very versatile player (albeit not a scorer in the true sense of the word), reliable on both sides of the puck, and brings a tremendous amount of grit, without going over the edge.

Is he available…not that I’ve heard, but I would suspect that, should the Sens not be in the thick of the battle come Feb. 27th, he will be.

At 32 years of age, and a 2M cap hit through next season…now might be the time to capitalize on the teams veterans, with an eye to the future.

What do you think, should the Senators find themselves outside of the post season come deadline day, would you make Neil available, or is he a key member of this teams rebuild plans?



6 Responses to “Hard To Say Good-bye.”

  1. Tough call… I think ANYONE is available, except Lehner, Karlsson and Spezza. However, I’ll be upset if Neil goes anywhere, similar to Kelly and Fisher last season. I like the guy, he’s got heart and absolutely LOVES this team and city. It’s tough to part with players like that, but it happens. This is a business, and if someone offers something up for Neil that’s just too good to pass up, then it’s so long, Chris.

  2. As you say, we should definitely trade him if we’re out of the playoffs hunt closer to the deadline. Actually, I’d as much suggest that he’s trade-able if we’re clinging on to the 8th spot.

    Why do I suggest trading him, even if we’re in 8th?

    If the Sens are in 8th place by the deadline, it means that their play has significantly dropped off while everyone else in the conference has improved. Chances of going beyond the first round in the playoffs – even with Neil – are low. Might as well maximize his value.

    However, if we’re 6th spot or above (and especially if we overtake Boston, as unlikely as that is), we should keep him.

  3. Every single player over the age of 30 should be on the table regardless of where the team sits at the trade deadline. This is still a rebuild.

  4. With 11 games to go before the trade dealine, Ottawa needs to play well above .500 hockey to consider themselves a legitimate palyoff contender. If they don’t, all the UFA’s and a few of the older vets should be moved out to help with the rebuild.

    Neil is at his highest value right now especially to a young playoff team like the Rangers and the Caps and Flyers could use him too. After next season, are we going to resign Neil or will he go to the highest bidder? LEt’s get something for him now.

  5. We likely wouldn’t get more than a second round pick for him. Neil’s real value is in setting an example for the young players currently on the team. He plays hard and with pride. These are lessons that players like Smith, Foligno and Condra are picking up. These are the “intangibles” that contribute to the overall culture of the organization as it grows.

    There’s no question we should look at moving veterans – Kuba or Gonchar should be moved if there’s any interest.

    But trading someone like Neil does as much harm as it does good in the long-term.

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