Nobody’s played more games for the Senators than Chris Phillips, the first overall pick in ’97 that’s appeared in 1,179 contests wearing an Ottawa uniform.
But now, it’s starting to sound like he might not play another one.
“Chris is a ways away,” Sens GM Bryan Murray told TSN 1200 on Thursday, per the Ottawa Citizen. “He’s trying really hard. He’s in the gym and doing some skating, but I would say, in my estimation, he’s a longshot to come back.”
Phillips, 37, has been sidelined all year with small crack in a disc in his back, after undergoing surgery to correct the problem at the end of last season.
He’d previously admitted to considering retirement during his recovery from surgery — “It got to the point where it goes beyond hockey and whether you can play again,” he explained — and now, given Murray’s analysis, it’s fair to suggest those thoughts might’ve crossed Phillips’ mind again.
In the last of a two-year, $5 million deal, Phillips will be a UFA at season’s end.
He’ll also be a year older — he turns 38 in March — and there probably won’t be a huge market for 38-year-old defensemen with back issues that haven’t played in nearly a calendar year (Phillips’ last game was on Feb. 5).