February 27, 2011
When you've earned yourself a no-trade clause (or you've been given one), this is the type of power you wield at the trade deadline. Defenseman Chris Phillips(notes) of the Ottawa Senators has one, and was set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He didn't want to leave Ottawa and could have killed any deal GM Bryan Murray attempted to execute at the deadline.
Instead, Phillips and Murray agreed to a new 3-year, $9.25 million extension that'll take the 32-year-old backliner off several shopping lists and keep him with the only team he's ever played for. The contract was first reported by Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, who said it'll be signed on Monday.
Phillips was in the last year of a 4 year, $14 million deal that earned him $3.5 million annually. One of the factors at play during this deadline standoff with Murray was a pay cut to stay with the Senators; at the end of the day, Phillips chose stability for his family and his career (even with a team on the rebuild) rather than uprooting for a new city and, undoubtedly, a richer deal.
Phillips has heard his name in trade talks at various points throughout his career, but he said the biggest difference this time around is that he the no-trade clause gives him control over whether he stays or goes.
"Now, being more involved with having to make decisions that affect the outcome is the biggest difference," he said. "Ultimately, I am (in control), when it comes right down to it, but it has been pretty open communication with Bryan. It's not like we're having a standoff and see who blinks first. We're talking about it. Between us and them, it is a collective decision, but I guess I have the final say."
He did, and he's a Senator for the next three years; per Garrioch, he has another "no move" in this contract. So congratulations to Chris Phillips. Be happy you're not getting the Mats Sundin treatment for your commitment to your franchise and refusal to turn into assets for next season.