In a move that the Ottawa Senators pretty much had to do to avoid the impression that they were throwing in the towel, they finally added the second year to their initial 1 year offer and got Chris Phillips locked up for two more seasons for a total of $5M.
There was sure to be lots of interest if Bryan Murray decided to trade the veteran, but after the messy departure of Daniel Alfredsson just 8 months ago, it would have been a PR nightmare to lose their 2 longest serving, 1,000 game players in such a short span.
Also, Phillips has been the Senators’ second best blueliner this season behind Erik Karlsson. He has mentored Cody Ceci into a quality NHL defenseman in just his first pro season, and deserves credit for that.
It is good to see the Senators reward loyalty, even if it did take right up to the 11th hour to get it done. Phillips was looking for 2 years, which he could easily have got on the open market. The contract opens the door for Phillips to become the franchise’s all time games played leader, as he sits just 54 games behind Alfredsson’s total in Ottawa.