The agent for Chris Neil says that despite media reports to the contrary, his client is not seeking a new contract that would pay him $2.5 million per season.
“Those aren’t our numbers. Our numbers are south of that. We’re not seeking 2.5 million dollars,” Neil’s agent Todd Reynolds told Rogers Sportsnet on Monday.
Neil is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. The 29-year-old is seeking a long-term deal to keep him in Ottawa, where he has played his entire seven-year career. The stumbling block at this point appears to be over the length of a new deal.
“The gap (money) is not really that huge, but over four or five years that becomes an issue,” said Reynolds. “He’s not looking to cross the road for an extra fifty bucks. All things being equal, he’d like to stay in Ottawa.”
The Ottawa Senators and Neil’s camp have not had any significant communication since the two sides met at the final game of the regular season in Toronto. They had feverish negotiations on March 3rd – one day prior to the NHL trade deadline.
When those talks failed, the Senators actively pursued a trade involving Neil. However, the Senators could not find a suitable trading partner and opted to hang onto Neil – in the hopes of re-signing him before July 1st.
Reynolds says that while no new talks are scheduled, he does expect to hear from Senators general manager Bryan Murray at some point in the next couple of weeks.
“I’m always optimistic. There’s lots of time,” added Reynolds.