On the eve of the playoffs, Chris Phillips decided to be a stay-at-home-defenceman with the Senators.
As reported yesterday by the Sun, the Senators blueliner has agreed to a four-year, $14-million (all terms US) contract with the club, which will keep Phillips in the fold through 2010-11.
According to sources, Phillips, who could have become an unrestricted free agent July 1, would have made more on the open market, but he wanted to stay in Ottawa and received a "no-trade" clause as part of the deal.
IN THE NICK OF TIME
The contract was done in the nick of time for both sides. It's believed Phillips' agent, Stacey McAlpine, and the Senators had agreed if there wasn't a deal in place by today, all talks would have been called off until the conclusion of the season.
Phillips, who is making $2.2 million this year, will make an average of $3.5 million per season over the life of the deal.
The signing is expected to be announced today by Senators GM John Muckler before the club opens the post-season tonight against the Penguins at Scotiabank Place.
The only stumbling, sources say, was the wording of the "no-trade" clause.
Phillips, 29, the No. 1 overall selection in the 1996 draft, is coming off a career year. Not only did he form the Senators' top defensive pairing with Anton Volchenkov, who signed a three-year, $7.5-million deal with on Monday, Phillips finished with a career-high eight goals and 18 assists in 82 games.