With yesterday’s announcement that the New Jersey Devils have waived defenceman Colin White for the purpose of salary cap relief – GM Lou Lamoriello even went so far as to say that they will buy out the remainder of his contract in the event that he goes unclaimed — Chris Phillips is now the lone remaining player from the 1996 draft class who has spent his entire career playing for one organization.
It almost feels weird saying that since just a few months earlier, the prospect of Phillips remaining in a Senators uniform beyond the 2010-11 season seemed so uncertain. On February 27th, the day that he re-signed with Ottawa, the team had a record of 21-32-9. Good enough to be in sole possession of the Eastern Conference’s worst record and 16 points out of the eighth and final playoff position. Considering this pedestrian place in the standings and the recent departures of Chris Kelly and Mike Fisher, you could not have blamed Sens brass had they wanted to shop Phillips’ services around. As an impending UFA, the then 32-year old defenceman was doing his best Christer Olssen impersonation out on the ice and could walk away at the end of the year without returning any kind of compensation.
Yet here he remains.
Of course it helped that his ardent desire to remain in the city was protected by a no-trade clause. And for that reason alone, the potential for a Phillips trade just never seemed like it would be fully realized.
In light of recent comments made by management during the offseason regarding the readiness of young prospects like Jared Cowen and David Rundblad, many eyes will be focused on the play of Ottawa’s veteran defencemen. Since impending UFA Filip Kuba and Sergei Gonchar weren’t in demand last season, everyone in the nation’s capital will be crossing their fingers that these two can rebound and inflate their trade value. More importantly, it makes sense from an organizational standpoint to be patient and afford these two defencemen every opportunity to improve their worth and hopefully fetch better trade returns.
And with their expected departures, it’s essential for Phillips to return to form. Not only will he inevitably become one of the few old hands on the blueline by year’s end, for his sake and the development of the aforementioned Cowen and Rundblad, the Senators need a bounce back year from Phillips to help ease the burden off of its younger players.
Otherwise fans conceivably will question management’s decision to reward an aging defenceman — who was having his worst season as a pro no less — a 3 year extension.
Karlsson’s Twitter Account Is No More?
Thanks to the powers that be, a genuine disinterest in Tweeting or Ken Warren’s scare tactics, Erik Karlsson’s Twitter account no longer exists.
Hopefully he only shelved Twitter like it was an All-Star Breakway Challenge goal against Tim Thomas.