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Sterling Off-Season Predictions: The Chrises

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The Silver Seven staff take a crack at predicting the outcome of some off-season situations facing the Senators

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What does the future hold for the Chrises Neil and Phillips? Retirement, trade, or still on the roster come October?

Richard: What I’d like to see: 1. Trade, 2. Retirement 3. Roster. What I think is most likely: 1. Roster 2. Retirement 3. Trade. I simply can’t see other teams being willing to make room or take on salary for these guys. Both Phillips and Neil sound like they want to play next year. As much as I hope their careers end amicably I feel like they might both stick around and just be regular scratches until someone goes down with an injury.

Ross: I think Phillips will retire, but not before the season starts. I think he'll show up to training camp, play in maybe a third of the team's games to start the year, then get scratched in November once Dave Cameron doesn't trust him. He'll retire a bit after that because he knows he won't get to play again. I think Neil will get traded but at the deadline. He'll realize his role is diminished and his Cup odds are nil. He'll want one last chance to be the agitator on a good team. So, since these questions are only about what will happen by the first day of the regular season, they're both on the roster.

Amelia: Phillips will retire. If rehab goes poorly, he'll bow out in the summer. If he's on the roster to start the season, can't think he'd want to spend more than a month in the press box before transitioning to a different role (one that secures the bulk of his remaining salary for the season), probably coaching. Neil will have a diminished role but it makes the most sense to move him at the deadline because he's the type of player playoff teams pay too much for. Unless he's injured again.

Michaela: Between Neil and Phillips, I think Neil is the most likely to get traded this summer. Phillips will likely either retire, or (more likely) come back in the fall and play the odd game between sitting in the press box. I don't think his trade value is high enough to warrant a move. Neil, on the other hand, can be moved with another player (or players) and we might get something decent in return. Either way, I don't see either of them on the team for much longer.

Adnan: I like to hope Neil will be traded, but I just can't see it. Phillips will making away from $2.5 million if he retires, so I can't see that happening either. I fear both guys will return sadly, but hoping to be wrong!

Ary: Murray’s made it clear that Neil brings an element that other Senators fail to bring, and although I think the Senators could get a return for the veteran tough guy, I think he’s in Ottawa until he wants out. That being said, I could envision a scenario where Neil was one of the vets unhappy with his lack of minutes and since Murray can’t afford to pay another coach, Neil may be traded at some point. I don’t think Chris Phillips has any value anymore, despite the Bruins wanting him last year, and his hefty contract for a 7th defensemen is going to scare away any playoff teams that might want his experience. I’d personally buy him out or ask if he wants to transition over to coaching a la Jason Smith because he’s clearly not a top-8 guy in Ottawa. The sports hernia probably didn’t help much, but I’m worried more about the roster spot. He’s definitely in Ottawa next year; doubtful for retirement.

B_T: I don't see either of them retiring during the off-season and a trade is only slightly more likely, so they'll both be on the roster at the start of the season.  Even if Phillips recovery goes poorly enough that he can't play, I see him spending the year on IR rather than retiring.