The Senators are willing to keep defenceman Chris Phillips — for the right price.
GM Bryan Murray said he plans to speak with Phillips’ agent, J.P. Barry, on Friday.
Murray has already told Barry and Phillips that if they’re going to demand more money on a new contract, the Senators would like to know before the Feb. 28 trade deadline.
Making $3.5 million this season, Phillips will have to take less money to stay. Neither side has discussed numbers and that could be part of Friday’s discussion.
“We’ve indicated that there’s a strong possibility (Phillips can stay) if Chris is inclined to do so,” said Murray. “The only question I asked: If it doesn’t fit financially for him or if what we’re doing here going younger (doesn’t work), give us an answer early enough.”
Murray said he will not force Phillips to waive his no-movement clause. But sources say there’s plenty of interest with Boston, Montreal, Vancouver and San Jose all looking for blue-line help.
“I would never force anybody,” said Murray. “He has a no trade and if he decides he wants to play it out until the end of the year even if we can’t come to an agreement, that’s his privilege.”
Murray said the Senators want to keep some veterans to help with the young players.
“(Phillips) is right in the comments I’ve heard in that we want to keep some of our core players or veteran players so that we are able to help our young guys fairly quickly.”