The New York Rangers have interest in acquiring Ottawa Senators' tough guy, Chris Neil, according to the New York Daily News' Jesse Spector, who had the Rangers' interest confirmed through multiple sources. Neil, 31, ranks third in the NHL with 157 penalty minutes and has three goals and nine assists on the year.
If this interest comes as perplexing, you're not alone. Even though Brandon Prust has had to deal with a slew of nagging injuries -- notably to his shoulder -- this season, it is unclear why the Rangers would want a one-dimensional, fighter-type on their team as the team pushes toward the playoffs. After all, the Blueshirts have scored just 2.63 goals per game this season -- and most of the scoring woes have come during their struggles over the past month or so. The last thing the Rangers need at this point is an offensive liability who has $2 million left on his contract next season. Derek Boogaard, who has only played 22 games because of a concussion, still hasn't finished the first year of his four-year, $6.5 million contract! The Rangers will also have to re-sign some important players next offseason and taking Neil and his contract will only crimp Glen Sather's ability to do that.
If anything, what the Rangers need is someone to boost their scoring output and Neil will certainly not do that. There has also been talk that New York also needs someone to control the power play, so it's quite curious why the rugged winger's name has surfaced.
John Tortorella has already shown that if a player can't play a two-way, high-energy game, he'll be getting just eight minutes a game, if he's lucky. Boogaard was averaging 4:33 a game. Bringing in Neil means other players -- with more offensive upside -- will be sitting more and when Ruslan Fedotenko returns, Tortorella will have some (unnecessarily) tough roster decisions to make which really wouldn't have to be made if this trade never comes to fruition.
This is just one of many rumors the Rangers may be a part of as the NHL trade deadline approaches on Feb. 28.
#25 / Right Wing / Ottawa Senators
Jun 18, 1979