July 8th, 2011, 11:55 am
So far, so off the radar this offseason with the additions of Handzus, Vandermeer, Burns and Havlat.
You gotta love how Doug Wilson operates so far off the grid, it keeps us guessing and the next move could come at any moment – or not until February. Who knows? I’ll give Doug Wilson high marks for his efforts this offseason and we know this about our GM – he will not spend the 6.1M in cap space that remains just because it’s there. If a player is available that fits any amount of that space that is on the infamous “Ghost Roster”, he will act quickly. If not, he will wait.
In the past, Doug Wilson has acquired a 3rd line energy forward with fighting ability in Travis Moen and Ben Eager. While Eager’s ability to play on the 3rd line is debatable, Moen has been pretty effective everywhere else other than San Jose in that role of hitting people and chipping in with some goals and rough stuff.
In 2009, the Sharks were linked at the trade deadline with The Beast from the East, Ottawa Senators forward, Chris Neil. He ended up not being traded and signed a contract extension, but with two years left on his deal at 2M per season, he fits my final roster goal of adding a rugged 3rd line winger who will hit anyone and anything. Neil played 80 games last year, finished 6th in the NHL in hits with 258 (Dougie Murray had 203 as a point of hitting reference). Neil played nearly 13 minutes a game and almost all of it came even strength. He has playoff experience during the Senators playoff run in 2006-07 and he didn’t lose his mind like Eager and was able to suit up for all 20 games, playing over 10 minutes in all the Cup Finals tilts.
You can choose to believe the rumor mill or not, but Neil’s name in Teal has come up multiple times, as has Jason Chimera’s (a guy we’ve talked about on the podcast as another potential roster casualty in Washington). Chris Neil would be a real solid addition and complete the Sharks remodeled look on the 3rd line. He’s an intimidating presence, an experienced agitator who has some hockey skill and a great locker room reputation.
What would it take to get him? Ottawa needs young forwards and might be interested in someone like Tommy Wingels, Benn Ferriero or Brandon Mashinter. They aren’t going to win many games this year, so they might want to go for youth and shed Neil’s salary. I think they’d want a young player who could potentially play now, not someone who is two-three years away.
What do you think? Does Chris Neil match what you’d like to see Doug Wilson do next?