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?