Phillips On the Bruins Radar
The Boston Bruins are obviously looking to acquire a defenseman before the impending trade deadline. Based on league sources close to ESPN Boston’s Joe McDonald, one of the most recent NHL trade rumors concerns the Bruins’ talking to Ottawa Senators veteran D-man Chris Phillips.
What would this trade signify for the B’s?
Well, they would obviously have a more reliable veteran presence on the ice to help guide youngsters Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller and Torey Krug. Adam McQuaid is still dealing with his leg injury. We also know that Dennis Seidenberg, one of the best two-way defenders in the NHL, will not return to the rink this season due to his serious ACL affliction.
“Against New York, those guys did a pretty good job, and as you get deeper in the playoffs it could become a concern, so we just have to work with what we’ve got right now,” Julien said. “There are a lot of scenarios that are easier said than done, and that’s why Peter right now is certainly looking to improve our hockey club, but whether that happens or not I’m going to go forward with all the confidence in the world with the group that we have. That’s what we need from the coaches, and the players need to feel that confidence and every time we’ve done that it’s really turned out good for us. (Previous ESPN Boston link)”
Mark Stuart could also be a possibility. Phillips, who is six years older than Stuart, holds a great deal of playoff experience (over 100 games) which is definitely a feature that the Bruins have been seeking in possible defensemen additions.
Some may point out some noticeable flaws in Phillips. He often lacks the sort of menacing intensity that many Bruins’ players inflict upon other teams. He hasn’t performed very well from a statistical outlook, too, with a plus-minus ratio of -8 on the season. Compare that number to some of his glory years when he was exceptionally efficient with plus-minus ratios of 20 and over.
However, it’s hard to ignore the assets that Phillips could bring to the Bruins. He posses a great hockey IQ. He’s mobile. He’s a great one-on-one defender using his long reach and big 6’4” frame to his advantage. If you want someone who can lead a defense by example, this 35-year-old is your man.
The Bruins won’t trade a first-round draft pick. The Senators want to negotiate a new deal with Phillips to retain his services in Ottawa. His salary cap blow would be roughly $3 million, the second highest cap hit of the Senators’ unrestricted free agents. The Sens, therefore, may wish to pursue better options than what the Bruins have available.
When everything is said and done, though, I think Phillips will offer a knowledgeable, experienced element to the B’s inconsistent, youthful defense.