It’s not often that a #1 draft pick isn’t that offensive isn’t called a bust.
But with Chris Phillips, the reason is obvious. For much of the past 15 years, he’s been one of the best shutdown defencemen in the league.
Nothing flashy. Nothing that grabs headlines on NHL.com. Just a solid stay-at-home defenceman that won’t let you score while he’s on the ice.
Although he’s not the most offensive player (even in junior, he wasn’t that great a scorer), Phillips ranks near the top of Ottawa Senators’ statistics just because of the sheer number of games played.
He’s second all-time for defencemen in goals, second in assists, second in points and third in plus/minus. He also leads all Sens defencemen in career shorthanded goals. He’s also second all-time in penalty minutes by any Sens player, forward or defenceman.
The playoffs is much of the same thing. Second in goals, fourth in points and first in penalty minutes by defencemen. That’s pretty good, especially when you consider that Phillips had zero points during the Sens playoffs in 2007, when they made it to the Cup finals.
And he has a flair for the dramatic. In his 1,000th career game early this week, Phillips scored two goals in a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators. For those keeping count, those were the first two goals of the season. And it doubled his goal total over 82 games last season.
Phillips may never be seen as a great offensive player, but there’s no denying the impact he has had on the Senators franchise.