Lander and Horak and Phaneuf

Jonathan Willis
May 14 2014 01:00PM

Anton Lander re-signed with the Oilers, Roman Horak headed overseas, and there are rumours flying that the Toronto Maple Leafs would like to trade Dion Phaneuf to the Western Conference.

Looks like I picked the wrong weekend to head out of town.

Lander and Horak

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Jason Gregor covered Lander’s re-signing on Monday. A one-way contract worth $600,000 puts Lander in the same boat as Mark Arcobello – he gets the one-way deal and guaranteed money, but he’s also so cheap that being buried in the minors is a real possibility.

Roman Horak, meanwhile, bolted for the KHL.

12-Horak-1 12-Horak-1

It’s a shame the organization had to lose Horak, who is a very good AHL player (he came on toward the end of the season, too, with 31 points in his final 24 games) and had legitimate NHL upside. Originally acquired as part of the Ladislav Smid trade, it seems likely that the Oilers will retain his rights, and if he destroys the KHL it’s just possible that the organization might see him again. Either that, or maybe they ship him off to Toronto for Mark Fraser next spring.

As for the Lander signing, it strikes me as a good move. I don’t worry about sunk costs – if a guy can’t play, it doesn’t matter how much time a team has sunk into him, it’s time to move on – but in Lander’s case there’s a dominant two-way centre in the AHL who insists on playing a 'dump-and-chase/pass to the NHL guys' game in the majors. The coaches have to convince him to play the way he does in the minors, because if he does there’s a very real player there.

Dion Phaneuf

The Oilers don’t currently have a defenceman like Phaneuf.

I know the ex-Flame and current Maple Leaf isn’t popular in Edmonton, but I don’t really care. The 29-year-old would not only add a tough-minutes workhorse to the blue line (something the club desperately needs) but brings the size and physical dimension that the Oilers simply don’t have in their top-four currently. He’s not only a good fit for need; his style also complements what the Oilers already have.

Is the contract a little worrisome? Yeah, sure. But these guys don’t come available very often, and when they do the teams that desperately need them have to be willing to take on some risk.

The Oilers are in a position to make the money work, too, with some big-dollar contracts (Sam Gagner and Andrew Ference in particular; Matt Hendricks too looks like a good fit for Randy Carlyle) that could form part of the return package.

If he’s available, the Oilers should make a significant push.

In Brief

  • I know there’s a Matt Greene fanclub in Edmonton, and I understand why – he’s big and mean and has been quite a good third-pair defender for some time now. But folks hoping the Oilers should make a run for him in the offseason should be watching his ugly work for Los Angeles in these playoffs. Things have gotten so bad that minor-league call-up (and waiver wire fodder) Jeff Schultz is logging significantly more minutes than Greene. Greene’s a better version of Mark Fraser at this point, and if Edmonton pitches for him they should be looking at him as nothing more than their No. 7 defender.
  • Edmonton makes sense to me as a landing place for Dion Phaneuf, but not so much for Jason Spezza. It’s not that the Senators pivot wouldn’t be a great fit on the Oilers’ roster, it’s just that he only has one year left on his deal and he’s going to cost major assets to acquire.
  • Also, is it just me or would Tom Gilbert be an awfully nice fit on a pairing with Phaneuf? Gilbert excelled next to Brian Campbell in Florida this year and his skill-set would be a nice fit for a big, tough defender who can hammer the puck. 
  • This year’s draft is in Philadelphia. The Flyers’ have lots of interesting pieces on their roster, and I can’t help wondering if they might not make a big push to grab a higher pick (right now it looks like they’ll slot in at 17th overall).

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 v4ance
May 14 2014, 01:33PM
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Ference + Gagner + Yakupov + Musil ($9 million cap hit)

for

Phaneuf + Gardiner + Kadri ($10.8 million cap hit)

Toronto gets some grit, skill & cap relief and Edmonton gets Randy Carlye castoffs ;)

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#2 Rama Lama
May 14 2014, 01:27PM
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Dion or Dino??

He plays like a Dinosaur.......exactly what anyone sees in this guy is beyond me. If we are looking for someone who takes unnecessary chances, doesn't score but can hit........let's looks at Matt Green and forget Dion.

His best years are behind him and everyone in the Leaf's organization know that.....why do you think he is being peddled out there?? If we give up anything for this guy, there will be hell to pay.

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#3 Freewheeling Freddie
May 14 2014, 05:34PM
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Dion Phaneuf really? 7 million long term NONONO. Definitely not a solution. Overpaid Over rated.NONONO

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#4 Ambassador humantorch
May 14 2014, 01:24PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

If the Dion is available he'd look awfully good on our blue line. Can't imagine getting him without sending one of either Marincin or Klefbom back as part of a package, but especially with Nurse and Simpson coming up we can probably handle parting with one of those two.

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#5 backup bob
May 14 2014, 01:46PM
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Phaneuf is the best option out there. Sign him if you can. To all you nay sayers, keep waiting for Weber.

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#6 nuge2nail
May 14 2014, 05:56PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

The oilers pp would be much better with Phaneuf.

The offence would dramatically improve as well.

Too bad he's a jerk and would be a distraction in the locker room.

Imagine Hall and Phaneuf sharing a locker room may be great, may be a disaster...

If we could get him for Gagner, Simpson and a 2015 second rounder is do it.

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#7 Big Cap
May 14 2014, 01:24PM
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Any Oilers fan who doesn't believe that Phaneuf would be a huge upgrade to our D-Core also believes that we're gonna pick up Weber or Doughty this summer.

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#8 ONTARIO OILERS FAN
May 14 2014, 02:23PM
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Let's All pray for a Montreal win tonight!!!!!!!!!! Habs vs NYR would be sweeeeeeeet

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#9 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
May 14 2014, 01:42PM
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Not big on this Dion to Edmonton scenario, but with things being so difficult here now, it could become reality unfortunately. That contract will bite them in the arse within 2-3 yrs. With kids like Klefbom, Shultz, Marincin, Nurse, Simpson and perhaps Ekblad working their way up the depth chart. It's only a matter of time till he's expendable/another untradeable asset.

One guy I would be targeting over Phanuef, (and I'm sure the Oilers are as well) is that Clayton Stoner kid currently in Minny. He's a bruiser the Oilers could use, someone who shows up for work everyday in ill humour. Stoner is also 29 and a UFA this summer. Made just over one million last season. He's not going to be a top pairing guy ofcourse, but he would be another journeyman/settling influence like Andy Ference. Keep that welcome matt out for the current Oiler blueliners to step up/excel.

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#10 Taylor Gang
May 14 2014, 02:16PM
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I said this the last post about Phaneuf and I'll say it again: the Oilers don't need another distraction.

This is the guy who supposedly calls himself "the Dion". That alone says a lot about how he holds himself. There has been nothing good said about this guy's character. It seems every Toronto fan wants him out of town for issues in the dressing room. Sure, he's a quality player, and would immediately become the Oilers' top pairing defenseman, but this is a very young, very impressionable team. Egos don't usually go well on a team like this, especially considering that the coach has ego problems himself.

In short, stay away from Dion.

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#11 Cold Hard Truth
May 14 2014, 01:29PM
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Indeed, Phaneuf has his warts, but the Oilers are in no position to be sticking their noses up to him.

And sure there's risk. But after all, wasn't exposing the Oilers to "some semblance of risk" part of MacTavish's impassioned mandate?

However, it seems most fans would rather collect assets and marvel at their 'potential' than actually build a winner now.

...and don't call me Shirley.

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#12 ONTARIO OILERS FAN
May 14 2014, 02:21PM
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Dion will be back playing in Calgary under his former GM. Oilers do not need his price tag... Oilers should target better Dmen UFAs

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#13 ONTARIO OILERS FAN
May 14 2014, 02:34PM
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J.R. wrote:

Who is a better D-man UFA?

Nobody. That's who.

Phaneuf is not my first pick but he is the best available....unless you think Weber or Subban are an option.

I know this is a divisive issue amongst Oilers fans but I would jump for joy if they made this deal.

Welcome Dion....weirdness and all.

In good faith, I agree however with a bunch of kids signed long term at $6M per, then you add a $7M Dman, at what point do you move some assets out? Isn't Dan Boyle a UFA? Andrei Markov is likely to stay in Montreal and finish there but he would be huge in the locker room. PK Subban could be had but at what price? Derek Morris would look great in an Oilers uniform.

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#14 J.R.
May 14 2014, 02:30PM
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ONTARIO OILERS FAN wrote:

Dion will be back playing in Calgary under his former GM. Oilers do not need his price tag... Oilers should target better Dmen UFAs

Who is a better D-man UFA?

Nobody. That's who.

Phaneuf is not my first pick but he is the best available....unless you think Weber or Subban are an option.

I know this is a divisive issue amongst Oilers fans but I would jump for joy if they made this deal.

Welcome Dion....weirdness and all.

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#15 J.R.
May 14 2014, 08:10PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

You are correct. Fans do not know what goes down in the dressing room. But this is what I do know. There are 20 guys in the whole NHL that won't stand up for their teammates during on-ice altercations. They all play for the oil. Either mgmt has defied insurmountable odds and selected all of the pussies in the league OR there are fundamental problems with the personalities on the oil. Maybe throwing another monkey wrench into broken machinery will somehow fix things, after all I once fixed a non-functioning TV by kicking it. Maybe things won't get worse if we add a strong personality making more dough than the core. Anyone think Dion will hustle to Yak's aid when he is getting humped by Regher in the corner?

Really? 20 Oilers who won't stand up for a team mate?

I know what you are driving at but get real man.

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#16 HallFever
May 14 2014, 01:12PM
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I would take PHANEUF too but TOR would have to retain some salary. 2C is just as important as a top pairing Dman at this point. Sorry Gagner.

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#17 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
May 14 2014, 01:52PM
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v4ance wrote:

Ference + Gagner + Yakupov + Musil ($9 million cap hit)

for

Phaneuf + Gardiner + Kadri ($10.8 million cap hit)

Toronto gets some grit, skill & cap relief and Edmonton gets Randy Carlye castoffs ;)

Now that, Mr. Vance refrigeration, was uncalled for, and perhaps even a tad rude.

No Oodle Noodle for you today....sir.

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#18 MyTwoCents
May 14 2014, 03:33PM
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All you clowns think about is offense. There are other aspects to the game ya know! Oilers already bleed goals, and now you want Phaneuf?? Still wandering the desert I see.

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#19 Casey
May 14 2014, 05:42PM
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I dont feel Dion is the guy for our team. Good quality on the ice. Horrible off the ice. We can't have him in our dressing room teaching our kids. Before he teaches a kid he has to fix his attitude. Sean Avery would be an upgrade on Jesse Joensuu but would you want him? Dion dosen't seem like the type of guy to mentor a team. Erik Johnson has a much lower salary but would right away step in as our #1 defensemen and has great size. He seems like a better fit

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#20 madjam
May 14 2014, 05:56PM
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Phaneuf does not fight enough for some of our fans by the sounds of it . If your coaching the team , I doubt you want a player like Dion spending much time in penalty box because of fighting . He is plenty physical enough in his play which you want . The fisticuffs are better left to other less important players . There is an abundance of physical players in league that play very physical yet shy away from actual fisticuffs , and mostly to teams advantage . He can fight ,but he is more valuable on the ice than in the penalty box . Not quite a Cooke clone , but he can play nasty at times .

Hearsay about locker room problems ? What team does not have them , but works around them anyways ? Not everybody going to always get along over a long season, etc..

Horak needs to develop and the KHL might be good for him and us down the line . Landers is simply improving and holding onto him at this stage might prove worthwhile .

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#21 Charlie Huddy
May 14 2014, 03:09PM
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@ONTARIO OILERS FAN

I have a number of friends who are Montreal fans. The last thing I need is them walking around happy.

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#22 elGabester
May 14 2014, 06:33PM
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I went to the same highschool as phaneuf and apparently the teachers hated him because he didn't show any effort. But that's aside from hockey.

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#23 Ricky's Jalapeno Chips
May 14 2014, 02:33PM
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In 2 or 3 years some of our D prospects will be playing and contributing. Many will be getting big contracts (Nurse, Marincin, Klefbom, etc.). This years draft pick will need a big contract in a few years. Bring in good, character guys (trade or sign) for a short to medium transition. There are lots of decent options out there. We don't need Phaneuf's long contract, big cap hit, and all of the baggage that he brings with him.

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#24 Taylor Gang
May 14 2014, 03:25PM
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LOIL99 wrote:

Every FAN wants him gone for issues in the DRESSING ROOM??

No FAN knows ANYTHING about what goes on in the DRESSING ROOM. They think they do because they read twitter, but they don't.

Where there is smoke, there is usually fire.

Mike Keenan himself said that there were dressing room issues surrounding Phaneuf. We don't actually know what is and isn't said, but I doubt Keenan would lie to the media about something like that. If you can find more good things said about Phaneuf's character than bad things, I'll keep my mouth shut. Until then it's something to at least consider.

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#25 Jackson
May 14 2014, 03:59PM
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Dion is not a leader, sorry but he is not very smart. He is exactly what the Oilers don't need another high paid players that is not liked.

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#26 backup bob
May 14 2014, 05:58PM
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Memo to delusional Oiler fans: The team finished in 28th place for a reason. Subban and Weber won't be coming here. Phaneuf is from Edmonton, doesn't have a NTC, and is a jerk. Just what the Oil needs.

Going forward with the current young defence, means another finish out of the playoffs. This team needs help.

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#27 Taylor Gang
May 14 2014, 07:55PM
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Fellow nation posters: why don't you read the comments on the last Phaneuf blog and see which way the cheers/trashes are trending. Shows how fickle Edmonton fans are...

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#28 madjam
May 14 2014, 07:57PM
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ALLRIGHT ! The Big Bad Bruins beaten by the Hobbits of Montreal . Predictable seeing as Ference no longer there and Iginla is ? Go Habs Go !

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#29 Total Points
May 14 2014, 08:30PM
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Oilers don't need Phaneuf. I was at the private airport in Calgary and the Flames were waiting for their flight. This was when Kennan was coach. Their flight was ready to go and all the players and coaches proceeded to the aircraft.

Phaneuf was eating a sandwich and finished it (easily could have taken it with him) before he got up and proceeded to leave the building and board. By this time everyone else was on board by a good two minutes or more. They just all had to wait until he was good and ready to leave.

That is the type of arrogant person he is. I do not believe he would be a good team player.

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#30 Al Low
May 14 2014, 02:00PM
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Cold Hard Truth wrote:

Indeed, Phaneuf has his warts, but the Oilers are in no position to be sticking their noses up to him.

And sure there's risk. But after all, wasn't exposing the Oilers to "some semblance of risk" part of MacTavish's impassioned mandate?

However, it seems most fans would rather collect assets and marvel at their 'potential' than actually build a winner now.

...and don't call me Shirley.

I couldn't agree more about Edmonton fans marvelling at the stellar job 6Rings, Tambellini etc have done collecting assets. There's a reason teams like Colorado have passed us. In addition their telented young core, rhey took gambles on guys like Erik Johnson and Semyon Varlamov and it paid off. Dion Phaneuf represents an opportunity to take that kind of risk to make the team better. Are fans not tired yet? It's the 9th year of rebuilding coming up. Do fans not want to see some improvement, especially after the step back last year?

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#31 Rama Lama
May 14 2014, 02:44PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Oh, I don't know, it seems to me that Washington did pretty good with the guy they picked up who everybody in the Leafs organization knew was crap.

Yea that guy was totally being underutilized by Randy Carlyle and was run out of town.

Dion is being run out of town, because he is a defensive liability.....exactly how do the two compare?

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#32 ONTARIO OILERS FAN
May 14 2014, 03:12PM
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Charlie Huddy wrote:

I have a number of friends who are Montreal fans. The last thing I need is them walking around happy.

Not sure I get you... You should be happy for them. Oilers in the west and Habs in the east are my teams.

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#33 Jeffff
May 14 2014, 03:31PM
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Calgary fans were excited when they traded Phaneuf and now Toronto want to trade him. Red Flag.

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#34 GCW
May 14 2014, 03:20PM
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Also, is it just me or would Tom Gilbert be an awfully nice fit on a pairing with Phaneuf? Gilbert excelled next to Brian Campbell in Florida this year and his skill-set would be a nice fit for a big, tough defender who can hammer the puck.

Pretty sure Dion plays right defence, even though he is a left shot. Gunderson takes the left side in Toronto.

He would look pretty good with Hainsey, would he not?

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#35 Jeff
May 14 2014, 03:46PM
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I will say this again, I cannot believe the media is on board with this idea.....

We complain about our defence, wanting better defenders, wanting guys to be sound defensively and make good decision in our zone and the solution to this problem is Dion??????

PK is going to test the markets and yes, Montreal would be foolish to let him go, but I rather spend money on a guy who is good defensively and brings some real up side to offence and is a great media/community guy.

Contrast that to Dion, there is no comparison, for us to even consider or need to make the call is a mistake, an abosulte gong show mistake.

This is so brutal...

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#36 michael
May 14 2014, 07:35PM
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Listening to Bruce Mcurdy today almost has me convinced that chasing Phaneuf is akin to Moby Dick. In this case the whale comes with a heft price tag to land him.

I just don't know whether its worth it? If we eat all that contract Phaneuf becomes our highest paid player.

What do we expect for our money in return? Good question. I just don't know enough about his current game.Wild Card to say the least.

Philly would give their collective left testicle to get the 3rd overall pick. It seems likely that someone is moving on that team. Giroux's new contract is kicking in next year at 8.5 cap hit. Vinny? Nashville bound? Who knows.

I know what I would take for that 3rd pick. Brayden Shenn,Luke Shenn,Scott Laughton and their 17 th pick.

Its a a lot but your giving up a 3rd pick equates to a franchise pick.

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#37 THRNHJE
May 14 2014, 03:58PM
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Jeffff wrote:

Calgary fans were excited when they traded Phaneuf and now Toronto want to trade him. Red Flag.

Oilers fan living in Calgary, most people in Calgary were livid that Phaneuf got traded. They loved him here.

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#38 THRNHJE
May 14 2014, 04:01PM
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I know it probably wouldn't happen, but if we could get PK to entertain an offer sheet the likes of the one that Philly gave Weber, I would do that. Pk, then draft whoever is left of Bennet/Reinhart... we'd be in a position to be ok with losing a few years of first rounds.

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#39 Woogie63
May 14 2014, 04:09PM
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Red Flag on Dion, the Calgary dressing room got way better after he left, on the Calgary radio morning 960 Fan show, lots of questions are left hanging about Dion as a team mate.

The Toronto morning sport radio show now has Andrew Walker from the the fan 960 in Calgary... It seems that he might be a goid interview to understand the player in the dressing room and the player on the ice.

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#40 RexHolez
May 15 2014, 07:48AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I'm gonna go ahead and disagree. No, we shouldn't stop looking for upgrades. That sentence is insane. Yes, Phaneuf is trending down, and no, he isn't gonna get us into the playoffs, there I agree. What he would do is push every D man on the squad down at least one notch on the depth chart, and provide some shelter for Nurse/Kbom/Marincin while they adjust to the NHL.

On his salary, I agree that $7m is too much, that's why I said I'd like the Leafs to eat at least $1.5 million, preferably $2 million. Yeah he's a borderline 1LD, but we have no first pairing D men - hell, we barely have any second pairing D men.

If Toronto eats enough salary, this could be a good move. If the cap goes up as many think it will in the next two or three years, $5-$6 million a year for Phaneuf won't look quite so ugly.

If toronto kept some if his salary would his cap hit not still be 7million against our cap? The only bonus for toronto paying 1.5 mill of his salary would be less for Katz to pay. I think he'd still be 7mill against our cap

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#41 jeanshorts
May 14 2014, 01:13PM
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"Also, is it just me or would Tom Gilbert be an awfully nice fit on a pairing with Phaneuf? "

RABBLERABBLERABBLE SOMETHING ABOUT HIS HAIR BEING TOO LONG AND HOW HE DOESN'T HIT LIKE CIRCA 95 SCOTT STEVENS!!!

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#42 LOIL99
May 14 2014, 02:46PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

I said this the last post about Phaneuf and I'll say it again: the Oilers don't need another distraction.

This is the guy who supposedly calls himself "the Dion". That alone says a lot about how he holds himself. There has been nothing good said about this guy's character. It seems every Toronto fan wants him out of town for issues in the dressing room. Sure, he's a quality player, and would immediately become the Oilers' top pairing defenseman, but this is a very young, very impressionable team. Egos don't usually go well on a team like this, especially considering that the coach has ego problems himself.

In short, stay away from Dion.

Every FAN wants him gone for issues in the DRESSING ROOM??

No FAN knows ANYTHING about what goes on in the DRESSING ROOM. They think they do because they read twitter, but they don't.

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#43 Lochenzo
May 14 2014, 03:38PM
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If we can get Bryz to behave, there's at least a chance we can bring Phaneuf in line too.

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#44 bazmagoo
May 14 2014, 03:58PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

I'm not big on the Phaneuf idea either. He would automatically be our best d-man, that is true, but he seems to come with a lot of baggage. I'd prefer signing Markov for a few years and letting Klefbom, Marincin and Nurse develop properly with the knowledge that the #1 spot is there for the taking in the next few years.

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#45 madjam
May 14 2014, 09:32PM
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After 8 years of abysmal hockey , when is management going to do what is necessary to make us competitive ? Status quo is just more disasters . They can't build it , or just will not bother building it ? MacT. has fallen silent when it comes to acquiring new talent that can actually bring this club forward , despite how active he has been . Patience for competent management has worn thin/out after 8 years of futility . I don't know of any other club run this poorly , and the results of last 8 years is proof of it .

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#46 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
May 15 2014, 08:22AM
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@RexHolez

I believe you're correct, but I was more trying to bring his actual dollars paid under the $6M internal cap given to Hall. I don't think a(n alleged) prima donna like Phaneuf being paid more than the face of the franchise is a good idea.

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#49 yegCopywriter
May 14 2014, 01:42PM
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I'm fine with Phaneuf on the team as long as they never interview him or do a close up on his face.

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#50 Mike Krushelnyski
May 14 2014, 01:43PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Good point - this is pretty much exactly a 'some semblance of risk' situation.

Standing pat with a team that can't seem to crack the top-25 in the league seems like the bigger "risk" to me.

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