Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet says the Toronto Maple Leafs are shopping defenseman Dion Phaneuf. Should the Edmonton Oilers be interested?  That’s a stupid question. Of course they should be.

This from Kypreos, via Twitter:

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If GM Craig MacTavish hasn’t already been on the telephone to Hogtown inquiring what Toronto’s ask might be for the Maple Leaf captain, you’d have to think he will be soon enough if he’s serious about upgrading Edmonton’s blue line. 

While Phanuef has his flaws and his detractors, the Edmonton native isn’t just a bonafide NHL defenseman, a commodity the Oilers are short on, he’s a legitimate top-pairing guy who ticks a lot of boxes on MacTavish’s want-and-need list.



At 29, Phaneuf is on the right side of 30 (he turned 29 April 10) and is still in his prime. He comes with cost certainty – he’s a $7-million cap hit for the next seven seasons — after signing a seven-year deal with the Maple Leafs last season. No need to worry about pending UFA status, as is the case with Jason Spezza, the other big name rumored to be up for grabs. 

Despite struggling under coach Randy Carlyle this season, one in which he tallied 8-31-31 with 144 PIM while playing reduced minutes (23:34 per game), Phaneuf, a perennial also-ran with Norris Trophy voters, would immediately become Edmonton’s best defensemen.

At six-foot-three and 215 pounds, Phaneuf provides size and willingness to bang. He’s got some edge, even if he’s been accused of picking his spots. He’ll give you some minutes, having averaged 24:51 in 680 NHL games with Calgary and Toronto, including 26:32 with the Flames in 2008-09. 

Phaneuf, a left-handed shot, brings some offense and becomes a first or second option on the power play along with Justin Schultz. He’s tallied 40-or-more points five times, with a career-high 60 in 2007-08 in Calgary. He can play a shutdown role. He plays the penalty kill.



I don’t know what Toronto’s ask for Phaneuf is, but I like that, according to Kypreos, it starts with the possibility the Maple Leafs are willing to eat some of his salary to get a deal done, preferably with a Western Conference team. That takes some of the edge of the money and term, which is a year or two long for my liking. 

For me, the only non-starter in talks with Toronto would be if the Maple Leafs are looking for Taylor Hall or Ryan-Nugent-Hopkins as part of a package to get it done. I wouldn’t be crazy about moving Jordan Eberle along either, but you aren’t getting Phaneuf for spare parts.

Phaneuf is a possibility worth pursuing.

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  • Not sure what a deal might look like but one would imagine Sam Gagner would be involved. Obviously, he’s a overpaid, but anyone who says Dion wouldn’t be a good addition needs to get their head checked.

    I can’t argue with people who say 7 million x 7 years is too much for an imperfect player like Dion, but I’m beginning to wonder if 6 million is too low for a self-imposed single player salary ceiling. It’s a great idea in theory, but MacT cannot stick to it if he wants to add a top pairing dman or even a high end 2nd line centre.

    Anyone agree?

  • I find his skating marginal at best and thats now (29). In the western conference in a theoretically first pairing role… good gawd.

    It has train wreck written all over it now…. never mind adding a bunch of miles to his already suspect skating.

    Clearly he is an upgrade to what the Oilers have currently…. but honestly….. the list of actual NHL d men that aren’t is about Douglas Murray and a few others long.

  • I have a great idea on how to make this deal happen……..tell Kevin Lowe that this guy is the next coming of Chris Pronger, minus the skill, toughness, and scoring ability.

    If we trade for this has-been, I’m going to start cheering for Calgary!

  • Are you kidding me,,,,,

    So we go through the pain of saying we want a solid two way forward cause we need better defence and now this….

    Dion is a one/two dimension defencement and neither of his dimension is based on solid defence.

    He is a big hitter and jumps up in the play, not nearly as well as Justin who we already have.

    Get him for his hitting ability, but not something we need that being defence.

    Yikes, this is bad when the media is blinded, we have an organizatino that is blind, pretty soon the fans might become blinded than what will we become….. THE LEAFS?

  • Are we that desperate? First off its a terrible contract for what you get as a player.

    Leafs could not make the play off’s with him as the number ONE D-man.

    The guy spends more time in the penalty box, then he should [ 144 min. last year]. He only plays tough against weaker and smaller players.

    Schultz can score more points and next year Marincin will beat him.

    This is purely an attempt at a salary dump by the Leafs.Their goals against is as bad as the Oilers.

  • From Cap Geek: fyi

    Cap hit = 7M x 7 years.

    Actual salary: 8M (3.5M bonus), 8M (2.5M bonus), 7.5M (1M bonus), 7M (1M bonus), 6.5M (1M bonus), 6.5M (1M bonus), 5.5M (2.5M bonus).

    Not a ton of drop off in terms of actual dollars. The old CBA, this likely would have been one of those 12-15 yr contracts.

    Not sure what the bonuses are for.

  • pkam

    Our 2015 pick is off limits in any trade with TO also for those who think that should be part of the deal. with the uncertainty of where we’ll finish next season. Would you willing to give away a shot at one of those 2 “franchise” players for Dion Phaneuf. How is that working for you Phil Kessel lovers in Toronto.

    If the Oilers are serious then so probably Calgary will be also. Brian Burke kind of guy.It could be a bidding war that serves up a storm of stupidity amongst the WC GM’s.

    Its going to be an interesting draft in Philly.

    If your Edmonton one of the biggest assets you have is your 1 compliance buyout that you have left. MacT can take on any bad contract and flush it easily in trade for either a hard asset or a draft pick.

    Good times ahead for those with cap space. The dollar has dropped in value and so I think the cap easily gets pushed back 15% from what a lot of people were saying it would be next year. More likely to be 66 million than 70.Teams like Philly have several of those big contracts kicking next season. Same with Pittsburgh. Going to interesting to see which domino falls first.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    So, Lowes original gameplan was to have that 6 per as the framework for the Oilers elite players. Everyone on the team falls in line in accordance to this benchmark.

    This Phaneuf deal alone, would throw 3 years of any resemblance of a cost structure into the crapper. For a second pairing D’man on a good team. First pairing on our gutter dwelling Oilers ofcourse. Maybe we should try and survive our dud (Gagner whom nobody wants) first before we take on another albatross please.

    Phaneuf = confirms even further the severity of this organizations incompetence.

  • Zarny

    The Oilers have the worst D in the league so they have to make the call and see what the price is.

    I do not think Phaneuf is a good match for the Oilers. The Oilers are undoubtedly better with him. His flaws though are a perfect match for what already ails the Oilers.

    $5-6M is probably the right value but 7 years is risky. A lot of good young players need to get paid before that runs out. And in Edm Phaneuf will be expected to lead. I don’t think that is the best environment for Phaneuf to succeed.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      You’re always too in control of your emotions Zarny. Why can’t we see you fly off the handle once in a while, like others often do. Throw us a curve ball every once in a while, instead of these good common sense group think answers you always have in your holster.

      There’s no enjoyment for us, when you’re always in control of your emotions.

      Zarny’s still in control, nothing to see here folks…

    • You’ve got it about right, the way I see it. The Oilers at least have to make the call. Kick the tires.

      Even if the price is right — the Maple Leafs retain some salary and the ask isn’t outrageous — Phaneuf’s fit within this group of players is a real question mark.

      I can’t speak to Dion’s character, but in terms of personality, I interviewed him at length going into his draft year (and many times after that) and spent an afternoon golfing in the same foursome with him at a charity tournament and he’s pretty tightly wound.

  • Zarny

    Schultz and Gagner for Phanuef and Kadri. Toronto clears cap space. Oilers get a top pairing defensemen and a 3rd line Centre. Toronto gets…. whatever those other two clowns are.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Need one of these on Jason Spezza. So we know if we should celebrate or mourn if/when the move takes place.

    Only 5 months till training camp, we need to get our emotions/opinions all organized before hand eh.

  • clrsnldvc81

    Did anybody watch the All Access with Toronto and Detroit? Diana has a Penthouse (or what appears to be) Suite and drives a Bentley. He is obviously comfy in his Toronto digs… I think with the amount of posts hammering the fact that it’s not only the on-ice product that is questioned, but outside factors also. I love this city, but I’m not so sure Diana and his Hot Wife would… Pronger 2.0 anybody? minus the playoff cup run?

    oh and just because he would immediately become our “Best” defenceman doesn’t mean you trade for him…

    That kind of mindset is bogus.. It would be like saying “I drive a 1991 Honda Civic that is beat down, rusty and barely starts. Seeing an ad in Kijiji for a 1999 Honda Civic for 12000 dollars with average mileage. has some leaks but overall can still get you from point A to Point B… Thinking to yourself… hmmm… i think i’ll use all the money i saved for a brand new 2014 version to upgrade for now because i’m tired of saving up and any upgrade is considered an upgrade at this point… FAIL… save your money and wait it out…

  • Quicksilver ballet

    He’s a legitimate top-pairing Dman on the 26th ranked defensive team in the league. Given his contract (even if the Maple Leafs retain some salary), the potential cost of trading for him and his reputation, I would pass. I’ve always felt like he’s one of the most overrated players in the league but that’s just my opinion.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    As much as I’d rather have Subban than Phaneuf, signing Subban to a HUGE contract that MTL doesn’t match would cost the team 4 1st round picks minimum.

    What would set the Oilers back in terms of what to give up?

    Phaneuf: Klefbom/Marincin

    Subban: Possibly McDavid +++

  • paul wodehouse

    Ya he is a prema Donna but come on guys, we suck. ANYONE that can help the team is a good thing. He has EXPERIENCE, which this team is sorely lacking.

  • OilLeak

    Phaneuf is not known for his defensive play people, he’s an offensive defenseman. How is everyone is ready to give up Klefbom, Marincin, and Petry for Phaneuf? Taking on Phaneuf’s contract for a marginal at best upgrade on the back end is ridiculous.

    Thee only way I make this trade is Gagner is going back in the exchange and the leafs eat 2 million a season. Throw in another NHL player and a prospect to ensure equal value but that is the limit.

    Phaneuf’s 7 year contract hasn’t even started yet, he’s not worth 7 million now let alone when he starts declining in a few years.

  • beloch

    Flames fan here. Here’s a couple of things to expect in a typical Phaneuf game.

    1. Once the team finally gets set up in the opposing end, Phaneuf will take a massive slap shot from the point and miss the net by 10 feet. Then he’ll watch the puck bounce off the corner, fly past the other defender and create a break for the opposing team. He always manages to look surprised when this happens.

    2. Phaneuf will pick somebody who once made jokes about his girlfriend/wife, someone he just doesn’t like, someone who looked at him funny from the bench, or just pick somebody randomly. This person will be marked for a bone-crushing, open-ice freight-train of pain. Sometimes the train hits and the crowd goes wild. Other times the train misses by 10 feet, flops down on the ice looking kind of silly, and the mark gets a breakaway.

    Phaneuf should be a nice upgrade for the Oilers top pairing. Just make sure you don’t give Toronto too much back in return and ensure they retain some of his salary, because they just gave him a truly stupid contract. He’d be a second-pairing offensive specialist on most playoff teams, so the Oilers should plan for him to fall to their second pair once they find a legit top-pair. $7M/year for another 7 years is just too much for a second line defender. If Toronto swallows a couple million per year he’ll be a good hire. Just don’t make him the captain!

    P.S. Those of you saying, “But… I thought Phaneuf was a legit #1D? He’s the best Toronto has! What is this insane nutjob talking about when he says he’d be a #3-4D on a playoff team?”. Did Toronto make the playoffs this year? Nope. They might have lucked into the post-season last season, thanks to it being shortened, but their possession stats are scary bad. Phaneuf plays some of the toughest competition of any defender in the league, but he gets spanked badly doing so.

    P.P.S. Phaneuf may be big and look like a caveman, but don’t expect him to fight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKTN6xLsQss

  • beloch

    I have personally dubbed Phaneuf as ‘Captain Courageous’. This not a compliment. He never drops the gloves with anyone even remotely tough, always picks on smaller opponents and does not back up his team mates.

    If the Oilers are trying to develop a competitive culture, this is not the guy to trade for. The above combined with his blatant faux pas in the D zone spell disaster waiting to happen. Frankly, we already have that and don’t need more of it for $7 million per year forever.

  • beloch

    Defenseman I would target as more reasonable targets than Phaneuf through trade would be Kulikov(23) in Florida, Sekara (27) in Carolina, Gardiner (23) in Toronto now that Carlyle has re-signed, Carle (29) in Tampa, Vlasic(27) in San Jose, Wiercioch (23) in Ottawa…..all these players are available according to rumours obviously for the right price, and arguably cheaper than Phaneuf.

    Now none of those would be a #1 guy, but they would be solid fits and they are the right age to grow with the younger guys for a few years, and they all should come at reasonable price tags…..

  • S cottV

    Sure wish that salary number was between 5 and 6 million over 5 years.

    Regardless – the Oilers need to take a serious look at trying to make a Phaneuf deal work.

    A local product who might actually want to play here, in a large role toward making the Oilers a contender once again.

    Phaneuf offers top pairing presence and experience with an edge. He can play in all situations and can shoot.

    Why would anyone worry about “the room?” because it needs a major league shake up anyway. It’s presently dominated by entitled little candy@ss brats. Skilled though…

    I don’t buy the comments of prior posters suggesting that Phaneuf is some kind of pussy that wont fight and only steps up against smaller guys. At worst he overly picks his spots to stay healthy and reasonably out of the penalty box. Make no mistake – a highly motivated Phaneuf, coached properly would be a positively scary addition to the Oilers back end.

    If Phaneuf can learn from his experiences in Calgary and Toronto, by taking out some of the bad in the way he has carried himself in the room and on the ice – there is certainly a lot of good the Oilers could use.

  • Sorensenator

    Phanuef is in the lower 15 bracket of the top 30 D men in the League.

    The top 15 will cost you Taylor Hall and a first straight up.

    The next 15 is a big step down.

    First 15 NHL D men

    1. Zdeno Chara
    2. Shea Weber
    3. Ryan Suter
    4. Erik Karlsson
    5. Drew Doughty
    6. Duncan Keith
    7. Alex Pietrangelo
    8. Kris Letang
    9. P.K. Subban
    10. Ryan McDonagh
    11. Oliver Ekman Larsson
    12. Niklas Kronwall
    13. Brent Seabrook
    14. Dan Girardi
    15. Jay Bouwmeester

    Next 15

    16. Kevin Shattenkirk
    17. Dan Boyle
    18. Marc Edward Vlassic
    19. Dan Hamuis
    20. Victor Hedman
    21. Dustin Byfuglien
    22. Marc Staal
    23. Mark Giordano
    24. Francois Beauchemin
    25. Keith Yandle
    26. Dennis Seidenberg
    27. Kimmo Timonen
    28. John Carlson
    29. Brian Campbell
    30. Dion Phanuef

    Obviously you could move players up and down as to where you think they belong but I think this is a good reference point.

    If I missed anyone I apologize, this is my top 30 for now and as you can see, there are not 30 #1 D men on this list, maybe 15 – 20 max.