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:
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.
A FIT IN EDMONTON?
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.
WHAT’S THE ASK?
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.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.