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Chris Neil: should he stay or should he go? posted on 05/19/2009

Most Ottawa Senators fans like Chris Neil. I do too. He's entertaining and he's a solid scrapper who can, albeit less frequently of late, chip in offensively on occasion. But -- and it's a big BUT -- does liking him warrant paying him upwards of $2 million per season to keep him in a Sens uniform? Is watching him get the crowd going by flapping his arms upwards on his way to the penalty box after a fight worth that kind of money? Does that fact that his possible departure when free agency season kicks off on July 1 warrant a two-page feature spread in Ottawa newspapers?

Nope, no and definitely not.

Lets try to keep things in perspective: Neil will be 30 when the 2009-2010 season starts, meaning he is already most likely on the downswing of his career. Since his career year in 2005-2006 when he scored 16 goals, 17 assists and was a plus-9 while recording more than 200 penalty minutes, Neil's production has been on a steady decline. He scored 12 goals and 28 points the following year and six goals and 20 points in 2007-2008. This year, Neil chipped in only three goals and 10 points in 60 games (he missed chunks of time because of knee and leg injuries).

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