For the first time since Chris Neil spooked a linesman during the Senators' first round playoff series versus the New York Rangers,
news that the Sens were pursuing a contract extension had people a bit scared.
Entering the last year of a four-year contract that carried an average annual value of $2.0 million, with the way in which league salaries have escalated since the lockout, it was widely assumed that the third line staple would be owed another raise.
We were wrong.
Per Don Brennan:
Based on these numbers, Neil's extension would carry an AAV worth almost $1.92 million.
Chris Neil has signed a 3-year extension that will keep him a Senator until he's 37, I've been told. Believe it's worth $5.75 mil. #nhl#sens— Don Brennan (@SunDoniB) July 10, 2012
Brennan later revealed that Neil's extension will allegedly cost $2 million in the first two years of the deal before it drops to $1.75 million in the final year. He also will apparently receive a $200,000 signing bonus on July 1st, 2013.
It wouldn't be hard to build a case that Chris Neil isn't an outstanding hockey player. Our eyes tell us this and the stats support what we see. He's that prototypical agitating 3rd-liner at the moment, but is he that player over the remainder of this deal?
I had thought the Senators may try and upgrade their skill on the third line going forward, perhaps with a Stefan Noesen at right-wing. This deal doesn't close the door on that option, but it is one less open roster spot that would of been up for grabs going into next season.