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McKenzie: Phillips' future with Sens to be settled in 24 hrs

Bob McKenzie
2/25/2011 11:00:57 PM
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Chris Phillips' future with the Ottawa Senators looks like it will be settled one way or the other within the next 24 hours.

Phillips has a contract offer from Ottawa, but it's at less money than the $3.5 million he's currently making. Is he prepared to take the financial haircut required to stay with the only NHL team he's ever played on, or is the financial discrepancy so great he's prepared to uproot his family, waive his no trade and audition for free agency and a bigger payday on July 1st? Phillips and his agent J.P. Barry will confer on Friday night and Saturday and let the Sens know of their intentions.

The Brad Richards watch continues but there are so many moving parts here you would have to think this one will go down to the wire on Monday. Richards' concussion, while improving, is clearly a factor. And if the Stars beat Nashville on Saturday, what then? They're right in the playoff mix. The acquisition price will be high for a rental; will Richards consider signing a long term deal with a team or will he even waive his no trade clause? There couldn't be a more complex and convoluted scenario for any trade possibility than this one.

Nashville's activity on Friday, putting Wade Belak on waivers and trading Alexander Sulzer to Florida, suggests the Predators are clearing the decks for a move. Most everyone thinks their primary target is Edmonton defenceman Ladislav Smid, who appears to be the odds-on favorite as the next Oiler to be moved.

Edmonton, of course, is also continuing to listen hard to offers for Ales Hemsky and Los Angeles continues to be the most aggressive suitor. The Kings putting Marco Sturm on waivers on Friday opens up lots of budget space if necessary, but everyone seems to be just guessing on what the potential Oiler yield would be on a deal with the Kings. L.A. has also been in on Brad Richards and David Booth, amongst others.

Toronto's primary need remains a defenceman, more than a forward, and many wonder if the Leafs or Colorado will find common ground at the last minute on Monday for defenceman Jean-Michael Liles. Florida centre Stephen Weiss, assuming he would waive his no trade, is a player of some interest for the Leafs, but as I said, defence is the priority and a Weiss acquisition now would limit Toronto's free-agency efforts in the off season so he may be a long shot, at best.

Bob McKenzie

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