Hockey fans were getting awfully used to hearing Dion Phaneuf’s name being linked to every trade rumor involving the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s been that way for over a year… Today, however, those rumors turned into reality. The Toronto Maple Leafs have managed to swing a massive 9-player trade with their provincial rival Ottawa Senators.
The trade breaks down as follows:
Heading to Toronto: Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Tobias Lindberg, and a second-round pick in 2017.
In addition to Phaneuf, the Senators will receive Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert, and Cody Donaghey.
I have to say, I am shocked about Phaneuf’s destination.
It’s not very often we hear of two rival franchises coming together to make a deal, let alone one of the biggest trades in the history of both organizations. In terms of the number of players involved, this is the second biggest trade in Maple Leafs history. The biggest trade the organization ever made was when the team acquired Doug Gilmour from the Calgary Flames in a 10-player deal in January of 1992.
The majority of Maple Leafs fans were in favor of dealing the captain because of his massive contract and perceived lack of effort on the ice. Phaneuf signed a seven-year, $49-million deal two seasons ago, which many thought would be too difficult to trade away. I’m guessing most of those fans are probably happy with this deal for a few reasons.
For one thing, there will be no salary retained by either team in this trade. This means Phaneuf’s hefty contract is completely off the books. Additionally, all the new Leafs have contracts that expire after the 2016-17 season, which means there are no long-term assets coming back to Toronto.
Also, this move will free up a lot of salary cap space and will offer the new Toronto Maple Leafs regime more cap and roster flexibility to reshape and solidify the new team philosophy under head coach Mike Babcock.
No matter what people say about his effort or defensive deficiencies, Dion Phaneuf is still a nasty player to play against… Phaneuf had 196 points in Toronto, the 12th most by a D-man in the history of the club.
I personally like the way Phaneuf plays the game, and I wasn’t one of those people who thought it was absolutely necessary to move him. I certainly see how it helps propel the rebuild in Toronto, though. However, you can bet Dion Phaneuf will find new life after leaving behind the rumors and drama in Toronto…
A deal like this certainly brings new life to the Battle of Ontario.
Featured Image Credit: Mark Blinch-The Canadian Press