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.