Now that the ink on Chris Phillips' contract extension has dried, I've spent a little more time contemplating why the organization felt so compelled to retain an expendable asset who was approaching unrestricted free agency. Especially when taken into contrast with the Chris Kelly and Mike Fisher trades, I found myself asking the question, if you're going to rebuild, why not go all in?
With or without Phillips in 2011-12, the team would likely be a non-factor so why not move him for an asset or two at the NHL Trade Deadline? Even after the Campoli trade, Ottawa's blueline situation still appears to be relatively congested with blueliners who have NHL experience and come at a fraction of the cost. Of course, over the past few days, we've had the idea infused into our minds that Phillips was needed to help mentor some of the youth -- Jared Cowen and David Rundblad -- that will get injected into the blueline next season.
But is there more to consider here?
When Daniel Alfredsson talked to the media today and announced that his injury is not progressing the way he’d like, is it possible that there was some inherent pressure on the organization to retain The Big Rig in the event that Alfie is physically unable to play next season?
You know what's marketable? Landeskog and Nugent-Hopkins ripping other teams new arseholes... You trade Phillips for a first and package it with Nashville's first for another high first. OR you resign Phillips so that Cora's customers will recognize him on gamedays and be able to update their facebook statuses about it.
"if you're going to rebuild, why not go all in?" I totally agree! On the surface resigning Phillips for a rebuild doesn't make a whole lot of sense and there better be something else up BM's sleeve. With all the young D in Ottawa's pipeline you'd think that would be the first area to clear the decks and dump aging vets. But of all the players sent packing only Campoli was a defenseman ... and he's relatively young. And if the Sens were concerned about retaining someone with marketability than Fisher should've been the natural choice. Phillips was definitely more expendable than both Fisher and Kelly! But i guess unlike Fish, Phillips was really clinging on to his NTC and probably seriously limited Murray's options. Let's just hope BM's not done yet and has some plans for Kuba and Gonchar come draft day.
@Hajda We're going to have to wait and see what Craig Anderson does. If he goes and Ottawa can't find a suitable replacement, Ottawa's going to be back where they were when Elliott was here.
I figure keeping Phillips is about mentoring the kids. But less so for their on ice performance, as how to handle themselves off it. Though it is hard to ignore that they wanted to keep at least some fan-favourite and long time Senators around, even if it is just for marketability.
Also I really hope Alfie's injury is nowhere near that bad. It would be a massive shame to have this year be his last.
I doubt it, Fisher would've likely been that guy....and there's Spezza. Phillips doesn't get the young fans attention so much - no defensive d-men do really outside of with hardcore fans. I think he really just has enough in the tank, is great for young guys and it sends a great signal to players league wide what kind of an organisation Ottawa is.