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Chris Neil Not Returning

The third longest serving player in franchise history will be heading to free agency

Toronto Maple Leafs v Ottawa Senators Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

Chris Neil’s 16 year run in a Senators jersey has come to an end. In a report in the Ottawa Citizen, Neil’s agent confirmed that the he and the team are parting ways.

Neil played 1026 regular season games for the Senators, another 95 in the playoffs, and was the last remaining player from the perennial contender teams of the early 2000s. Not surprisingly, he’s also the franchise leader in penalty minutes and it’s not even remotely close. He’s clocked more than three times what the second place Chris Phillps put up.

He and his wife Caitlin have also done huge amounts of work in the community, perhaps most visibly (and actively) in their roles as the honourary co-chairs for Roger's House. Caitlin also serves on the Board of Directors for the Sens Foundation, and they have both been involved with many, many other causes and community events over the years.

Neil intends to test free agency for the first time in his career, in hopes of finding a team where he can get regular minutes through the season. There is the possibility he will retire though, if the only options are minutes like he received in Ottawa this season.

Whenever he does retire - be it this year or down the road, he will surely find an off-ice position waiting for him in Ottawa.