May 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips (4) checks Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) along the boards during the second period in game two of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Making The Grade: Chris Phillips

CHRIS PHILLIPS

Season Review – In what was supposed to be a season that would start to see Chris Phillips‘ ice time wind down to a more manageable level, that plan was blown apart with the injuries to Jared Cowen and then Erik Karlsson.  Phillips  was one of 6 Senators players to suit up for every game the team played.  He played over 21 minutes a game, which is higher than his career average of 20:48, which was a lot to ask of the 35 year old.  He played admirably, frequently being paired up with a rookie partner such as Eric Gryba, Andre Benoit or Patrick Wiercioch.  His stats, which were never Phillips’ strength, were fairly decent with 5 goals and 9 assists.  His -5 rating was better than only Zack Smith and the departed Kaspars Daugavins.

 

Playoffs – Phillips was steady in the post-season as well.  He finished a team high +6 while still logging over 21 minutes per game.  He was even a plus player against the Penguins in the 5 game series loss.

 

Contract Status – Phillips has one year remaining on a three year deal that carries a cap hit of just under $3.1M.

 

Importance To Franchise – His days as a top 4 defenseman are probably behind him, at least on a nightly basis.  Phillips is a good leader and will be a mentor to the next crop of Senators blueliners.  Players like Phillips are important to have around on a team even if he doesn’t put up the points on the scoreboard.

 

Needs to Improve – At this point in his career it might be too much to ask, but increased mobility and a mean streak would be two things that would make his game improve.  He has made it through 15 seasons being what he is, and that isn’t half bad.

 

Grade – B…I don’t think even he expected the workload that he got, and he did a pretty good job under the circumstances he and the team were put under.

 

What grade would you give Chris Phillips for his performance in the 2013 Season?

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