Neil was on pace for 9 goals. Puempel was on pace for 12. Neil has been working out hard and is down 7 lbs from his previous playing weight (was down 11 at one point this summer). I think he's going to be more of a contributor than we may think. I just hope he doesn't try to do too much and end up taking a lot of penalties (or a lot of off-sides). If we have both Prince and Puempel in the lineup (as well as Hoffman and Stone, who are likely to be targeted) we will need Neil (Boro can't do it all, especially with Gryba gone).
While I wouldn't necessarily call the Sens a small team, they aren't exactly a hard team. Many of our best payers (in terms of playing hard) are on the smaller side (Pageau, Borowiecki) and many of our players with size are not hard-nosed (Wiercioch, Stone, Ceci even Ryan, to a lesser extent -- he does hit a bit).
So, not sure if we need a "banger" line but we certainly could use someone like Chris Neil. Do we have anyone in Bingo who could fill that role? Score close to 10 goals playing 4th line minutes and policing the other team? We will need someone like that next year.
Oh, boy. The slimmed down Neil (who was on pace for 9) ended up with 5 playing an almost full schedule (80 games). And, of course, that means he had to get an extension.
Robinson, Bailey, Stortini. Those are the Bingo right-wingers. Stortini may be tough but he never scored more than 4 in the NHL, so he is not a replacement for even slim-and-slow Neil. Plus he's an idiot but that's an entirely different matter. I know nothing about Bailey. 11 goals split between the Marlies and B-Sens last year. Doesn't sound like an upgrade on Lazar. Buddy has a goal and 2 points in 3 NHL games. Way too small a sample size. But given our "depth" on the right wing I think Buddy has an excellent chance at sticking around, if even to just make that sample size a little bigger. This could be the time for Neil to teach him a few things. Because at 6'6" he *will be* picked on by the other teams' tough guys, especially in pre-season. At that size, either he learns to defend himself and only have to fight very sporadically (who wants to go up against a 6'6" guy who knows how to throw 'em) or he doesn't and he keeps getting picked on.
Are there free agents available?
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox