Senators sign Phillips to 3 year extension worth $9.25M

OTTAWA ON - JANUARY 18: Chris Phillips #4 of the Ottawa Senators throws a bodycheck on Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks at centre ice in a game at Scotiabank Place on January 18 2011 in Ottawa Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
It was arguably the biggest question heading into the deadline -- will Chris Phillips stay, or will he go? Well, the decision has been made, as Phillips has signed a 3-year contract worth $9.25M over that time. Phillips is coming off a contract that paid him $3.5M/year, so he's looking at a pay cut of about $400K per season. Oh, and there's a no-trade clause included, naturally (although it's worth noting that the NMC becomes a limited NMC in his third year, allowing for some trades). At three years, the contract will conclude shortly after Phillips' 35th birthday, which means his game shouldn't slide too much by the tail end (I hope).

Like most of the Senators, Phillips has struggled mightily this season, something we've pointed out in great detail. Yet there is little doubt in my mind that despite his struggles, Phillips would have fetched more than $3.08M/year on the open market come July 1st, so I consider this a hometown discount. Furthermore, anyone who wants to complain about numbers should probably consider whether the Senators will spending anywhere near to the cap in the next three years.

The problem I have is less with the numbers, and more with the logjam it presents for the Senators' blueline. Director of Player Personnel Pierre Dorion has stated unequivocally that David Rundblad will be a contributing member of the Ottawa Senators next season, while Jared Cowen is expected to make the team out of training camp as well. Chris Campoli is a Restricted Free Agent, and so if he is re-signed the blueline looks something like this:

Phillips - Gonchar
Karlsson - Kuba
Campoli - Carkner
Lee - Rundblad

A little crowded, no?

Unfortunately, there was little choice. It's hard Obviously, this means that Bryan Murray is currently frantically trying to trade off some combination of Sergei Gonchar, Chris Campoli, Filip Kuba, Brian Lee, and Matt Carkner before the deadline. Out of that list, only Campoli looks to hold much value at this point. If no trades are possible before tomorrow's deadline, then perhaps the movement will happen in the offseason.

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