February 06 2011 08:01AM
This is Chris Phillips. He's rumored to be heading to the Edmonton Oilers. It is one of many rumors out in the ether that could impact the town team.
Mike Brophy and John Shannon were on Sportsnet last night and suggested one of the current rumors has Dustin Penner heading to Ottawa in a deal for Chris Phillips. Phillips is a UFA, so one imagines that this would be for a signed Phillips, or that it might be part of a bigger deal (perhaps involving a third team).
Chris Phillips? He's making $3.5M and is in fact a free agent at the end of the season. He's a western kid, so the club might feel they could sign him and Phillips certainly has the reputation for being an effective shutdown player. He would have spent a lot of time mentoring young Sens blue, so that would be good news for kids like Jeff Petry.
Question: Is Phillips a good NHL defenseman at this stage of his career? Here's what we know:
- Phillips plays the toughest opposition Ottawa faces and it isn't close. Source (Desjardins) ishere.
- Phillips is doing it with mid-level help from the Ottawa roster, which means with very little help at all. The 10-11 Senators are not the 77 Habs.
- Phillips is a team worst -26 on a team that is currently -48 on the season (at evens). If the club played three pairings evenly at equal strength, his expected minus would be -16. He is playing tougher opponents (as noted above) so the plus minus numbers--while ugly--makes him somewhat innocent (with an explanation).
Other rumors have the Preds hot for Hemsky (Matheson has it here) and the Penguins may come calling with the news that Evgeny Malkin's season is likely over.
My own hope is that the club keeps both Penner and Hemsky. However, I can also see the wisdom in acquiring a veteran, signed defenseman to add to the current group of Whitney and Gibert. Those three men could anchor the blue and help along Peckham and Petry. Ladislav Smid's future may be covered in the Matty article I linked to above.
I've been saying for awhile that this deadline is going to be interesting. Steve Tambellini is open for business at the trade deadline and then in summer, and those appear to be his only windows. With that kind of restriction, he needs to be very aggressive.
Dustin Penner to Ottawa for a signed Chris Phillips qualifies as very aggressive.