Defenseman Chris Phillips will celebrate his 36th birthday in March and is playing out the final campaign of his three-year, $9.25 million contract, but he doesn’t want to start thinking about retirement yet. He’s hoping he doesn’t have to enter the free agent market either.
Phillips was drafted by Ottawa in 1996 and has spent his entire 1,103-game NHL career with the Senators. All’s quiet when it comes to the negotiations for a contract extension, but he’s hoping that changes in a hurry.
“Obviously, sooner rather than later,” Phillips told the Ottawa Citizen. “It has been a thought, for sure. It’s not weighing me down and I’m trying not to think about it too much, but obviously it’s there.”
He’s still playing a big role with the team, as evidenced by his 11 points and team-leading 48 blocked shots in 30 contests. He’s also averaging 21:07 minutes per game.
If he sticks around for another season, he will probably surpass former captain Daniel Alfredsson’s franchise record of 1,178 games played.
That being said, the Senators already have five blueliners inked to one-way contracts for the 2014-15 campaign, including current AHLer Mark Borowiecki. Eric Gryba, 25, might also earn a one-way deal as a restricted free agent and 2012 first-round pick Cody Ceci is likely to get a chance to play in the NHL sooner rather than later.
That logjam might be reason enough to give the Senators a moment’s pause, even if there certainly are reasons to keep him.