BUFFALO — So, is Chris Phillips next out the door?
Not so fast.
Talks to keep the veteran defenceman in Ottawa are heating up. Senators GM Bryan Murray confirmed he extended an offer to Phillips’ agent, J.P. Barry, to get a new contract completed by Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.
“Both sides are trying to get something done,” said Barry Thursday night. “Talks are going well, we’re just going to keep talking.”
Murray said while the initial offer was rejected, the two sides are trying to find common ground.
It should be noted Barry also represents captain Daniel Alfredsson and defenceman Sergei Gonchar, so he has experience negotiating contracts with the Senators.
“We’ve made a proposal that we feel is more than fair,” said Murray. “They came back and talked to me a little differently. We haven’t talked (Thursday). I guess we’re waiting to get their reaction to what we want to have happen.
“He’s totally in control. Chris has been here a long time, he’s been involved in the community. He’s a good man and he’s a good player. He’s not had the year you would expect he would have, but we’ll have more discussions.”
If the Senators can’t get a deal done with Phillips, then they’ll take a similar route to the one they used with Alex Kovalev. Once the club gets a deal in place — likely for a second-round pick — they’ll go to Phillips and see if he likes the destination and would be willing to waive his no-movement clause.
Phillips, who has played his entire career with Ottawa, could stick around to play out the rest of his contract, even if he doesn’t intend to sign here next season. Phillips, however, has made it clear he would like to be part of the rebuild.
The Coyotes, Rangers, Sharks, Canadiens, Penguins, Canucks, Flames and Blackhawks are all looking for help on the blue line.
The other possibility is Phillips accepts an extension and D Filip Kuba is dealt to the Rangers, who have shown interest.