Chris Phillips of the Ottawa Senators is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and with the Ottawa Senators in full rebuild mode, he seems like a logical trade option for Bryan Murray and the Sens.
But Phillips is an Ottawa lifer, playing in his 925th game with the team on Saturday night against Philadelphia. Murray would like to keep him around as a veteran presence as the team gets younger on the blueline and beyond, but only, of course, at the right price.
The Senators would be happy to find a spot for Phillips, but likely at only half the $3.5-million U.S. salary he's making this year. Otherwise, he'd be considered too expensive for their salary grid.
But the cut Murray's offering is too deep for Phillips, which is why the talks have stalled.
The ball is certainly in Phillips' court at this point. The Senators are only willing to take him at a certain price beyond this season. He holds a no-trade clause so he must sign off on any move, and if he's hoping for more money than the Senators are prepared to give him, he might be wise to waive that clause and help another team down the playoff stretch instead.
We don't know if Phillips will be traded or where he'll be heading if he is sent packing, but we do know that the talks between the 14-year Senators veteran and the only team he's ever known will continue as the trade deadline continues to near.