To many, stay-at-home defenseman Chris Phillips represented the best remaining trading chip on the Ottawa Senators roster and one of the best potential trade targets, period. The only thing is that Phillips didn’t want to leave the team that made him the top pick of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. Apparently, the Senators are still pretty smitten with him too, as various sources indicate that the team signed Phillips to a three-year, $9.25 million extension.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie notes that the deal also includes a no movement clause, certainly a relevant note considering the fact that the sturdy blueliner probably didn’t enjoy all the trade speculation during the last month.
It’s unclear if the deal will pay him a varied salary per season, but the annual cap hit will be a tad bit more than $3 million. That’s almost a $500K per year discount from his current deal, which is a pretty reasonable pay cut considering the fact that he will turn 33 on March 9th.
He’s not totally useless on the offensive end – typically scoring between 18 and 26 points per season – although the bottom fell out on his production in 2010-11. He only has five points and an ugly -25 rating this season, but that probably reflects upon the team around him more than his own skills. At least Senators GM Bryan Murray probably hopes so.
This must be a relief for Senators fans, who probably want to hold onto at least something that resembles the team they’ve been rooting for the past few seasons. Even if he loses a step or two during the deal’s duration, it’s probably a good crowd-pleasing move. Retaining a great shutdown defenseman is the biggest prize, though, obviously.