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The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded 32-year-old defenceman Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators. But what they absolutely did not want to do was keep paying Phaneuf that money, $7-million annually, for another five seasons after this one, not when that would leach into the years during which this not-good team actually plans to be good. And it is and was all about the future and possibilities, all about what could be and what might be. Brian Burke acquired Phaneuf and, in essence, moved out many remnants of the remaining contracts left behind by John Ferguson. Lou Lamoriello sent Phaneuf packing to Ottawa Monday, and with the deal goes the onerous contract Dave Nonis signed him to just before the Winter Classic at The Big House. Now, he’s traded away for some hope and a lot of salary cap flexibility, two of hockey’s most powerful intangibles. Bringing Phaneuf to Toronto was a Burke building block, his way in his words of putting teams together from the back end out. The best of all possibilities: Signing Steven Stamkos as a free agent and drafting Auston Matthews with the first pick in the NHL draft. That combination would accelerate the Leafs rebuild exponentially and in Lamoriello’s own words, change the plan.
Moving Phaneuf puts them in a better money position regarding free agency, even if it doesn’t add up to Stamkos.
Finishing last would give them a 20% chance at the first pick and if not that a definite shot at large Finnish wingers Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi.
The Leafs have yet to introduce William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Connor Brown, Dmytro Timashov, their four best prospects up front, to their roster. They have two first round picks this June, two third round picks and would probably like to acquire another second round pick or more to increase the 11 selections they’ll have in Buffalo.
Lamoriello chose not to go to the all-star game in Nashville to come home to Toronto and get what he said “some work done.” Part of that was the beginning of the Phaneuf talks, which were actually started by Ottawa, not the Leafs. Not that long ago, Phaneuf, Kessel and David Clarkson, the big three of Nonis’ bad contracts, seemed like untradeable anchors.
For the first time since 1970, there will be no Canadian teams in the NHL playoffs this year. The Toronto Maple Leafs moved their captain Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators Tuesday in a 9-player trade.Phaneuf joins the Senators almost six years to the day from a Jan. With Lynch's retirement comes the end of a career that started with the Buffalo Bills after being selected by the team in the first round.
Santos also announced that a USA medical-scientific team will arrive in Colombia to help investigate the mosquito-borne virus. 3 – The number of NHL all-star games Phaneuf has appeared in, twice as a member of the Flames and once as a Leaf.
44 – The number of points Phaneuf totalled in his best offensive season (2011-12) as a Leaf. 60 – The number of points Phaneuf scored in the 2007-08 season, when he was a finalist for the Norris trophy as best defenceman. 423 – The number of regular season games Phaneuf played as a Leaf, tied for 55th-most in team history. 1,120 – The number of penalty minutes the hard-hitting Phaneuf has piled up over his NHL career.
7 million – Phaneuf’s annual cap hit in US dollars until his contract expires in 2021. TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded 32-year-old defenceman Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators. To put that contract in perspective, consider that Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings, one of the best defencemen in the game, who is five years younger than Phaneuf, also carries a $7-million annual cap hit for the three season after this one.
This is less of a concern for the Senators, who are not close to spending to the salary cap and don’t intend to be, but a significant one for the Maple Leafs, who pay their coach like he is the dictator of a small island nation and who want to ensure that they have cap room to pay their own young prospects when the team is rounding into form — or to pay a big-dollar free agent in the short term.
A pause here to note the bewildering sense of confusion that accompanies the Toronto Maple Leafs making shrewd, rational decisions.

The other parts of the trade — Jared Cowen, Milan Michalek, Colin Greening and a draft pick from the Sens and four minor-leaguers from the Leafs — all feel like secondary elements beyond the fact that the Senators would pay Phaneuf and the Maple Leafs would not. On his conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Lamoriello, after praising Phaneuf as much as could for being a good leader and an all-around solid fellow, admitted that when the option came to get out from under the captain’s contract, he had “no choice” but to make the transaction.
Half want Dion Phaneuf traded since he is the captain and it was a player decision… the other half do not care because a win is a win and it is not a big deal the Leafs did not salute the fans after the game. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful.
And the Maple Leafs were probably quite happy to pay him his exorbitant salary for another year or two while he soaked up a lot of minutes on a rebuilding team. And it is now about ridding the Leafs of bad contracts and bad memories, players signed on and believed in by previous administrations.
From the day he signed that deal, after Phaneuf was prematurely and improperly made captain, he was judged more on salary than performance and neither seemed right. The Leafs bought rather low on Phaneuf back in 2010 sending a lot of junk to Calgary to get him. Trading him removes a 22-minute a night, reasonably dependable major league defenceman from their roster.
And they believe they have four defencemen in their system who can play Top 4 on NHL teams in the future – not identifying them, but Stuart Percy, the former first round pick, isn’t thought to be among those four.
Part of that was talking to other general managers around the NHL to see what Lamoriello might be able to attain for whomever he is choosing to make available.
Now all three are gone, little of Burke remains and the for the first time in a long time the Leafs have more money than they have players. Favourites came through as expected — and when others faltered, their teammates picked them upHow Canada won 22 medals: Day by day at the Rio Olympics No Canadian woman had won an Olympic medal in swimming since Marianne Limpert in Atlanta in 1996. In a six-part series, Postmedia News looks into the reasons for Canadian teams’ on-ice woes, from the Canadian dollar to players’ aversion to the media fishbowl. 31 2010 trade to Toronto, one that saw the Leafs send four players to Calgary in exchange for their future captain.
The Zika virus, which has prompted a global health scare, has spread to the nation's capital with three confirmed cases. They didn’t want to pay Phaneuf one bit of that salary in those future years, in fact, which is why general manager Lou Lamoriello said it was “extremely important” that the Senators retained his full ticket. In a salary-cap world, the worst thing you can do is overpay for mediocrity, because it limits the amount you have left to pay excellence.
Will they make more moves between now and season’s end to shed more talent and sink further down the standings in the process? President Brendan Shanahan’s decision to move on from the hapless former regime was an easy one, and the hiring of well-regarded executives Kyle Dubas and Mark Hunter into personnel roles suggested he had a smart long game in mind. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. No matter what he did, he couldn’t match the contract, couldn’t be what others wanted him to be. Six years later, they sell and while it’s not exactly a garage sale price, it’s a slight victory, not a home run, by salary subtraction. Sending him packing now, is building from the dollar signs out, opening roster spots and making salary manoeuvrings possible. It thins an already thin Leaf defence corps: The unstated goal over the next 30 games is to bottom out and get the best shot at selecting Matthews. They are going to want to add to that number too, which would likely mean the moving of newly acquired Milan Michalek, a year from now at deadline time.
Smith coached in Oshawa) and the second round pick they acquired and will figure out over the next 30 games whether to buy out the slow-footed Jared Cowen or not.
He was captain longer than Doug Gilmour or Wendel Clark, for six seasons and seven playoff games although it didn’t seem or feel that way. Though the 11-year veteran is a minus-15 since the start of last season, Phaneuf's experience provides an upgrade and another possible mentor for talented young defenseman Cody Ceci.

3 with the Calgary Flames and Toronto, but that number is currently held by Senators defenceman Marc Methot. It’s a trade that makes no sense for the Maple Leafs, aside from the inclusion of a good prospect in Tobias Lindberg, but for the fact that it unloads the Phaneuf contract. He’s not a top-pairing defenceman, and better suited to a second pairing — although you could still get some argument there — which means his salary is completely out of whack with his worth.
The Lamoriello hiring looked like it might have been a wobble — his best days in New Jersey are a long time ago, and before the salary-cap era — but in his first major move he has shown that he is wholly on board with getting good by first getting bad. That's Karlsson here, but Phaneuf still has to be a top-four defenseman and play in key situations.
Babcock and the coaching staff also did the front office a tremendous help by sheltering Phaneuf this season, keeping him away from opponents’ top lines and reducing his time on the penalty kill. The fire sale continued at the trade deadline, with Chris Stewart going to Minnesota for a draft pick.As a result, the Sabres finished with the worst record in the NHL.
Well, my friend, that's a nice old-fashioned blockbuster of a trade, isn't it?It might still be a while before the National Hockey League officially has its trade deadline, but the first major deal of the season has taken place.Toronto did not retain any of Phaneuf's salary in the deal. He went from being the subject of nightly complaints and boos — and the focus of SaluteGate, the brief anti-fan insurrection — to playing competent hockey against lesser competition. Phaneuf's contract carries a $7-million cap hit through 2019-20.Lamoriello also added an immediate replacement for Phaneuf in Jared Cowen. Kessel had his warts as a player, but he is an elite scorer and had led the Leafs in scoring in each of his six seasons in Toronto.Rather than try and replace that offence, the team entered the season with a mix of third-liners who were asked to punch above their weight. Not hard to predict what people were quickly saying on Twitter about that.What do you think of the trade?
At no point during this season did Toronto call up one of its top young prospects, such as William Nylander or Connor Brown.The Leafs headed into Tuesday night’s game against the Calgary Flames with the fewest wins in the NHL and tied with the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets for the fewest points. He'll just play his game, and it seems likely that away from the harsh scrutiny of Toronto, he may flourish even more than had he stayed a Leaf. On most nights, they are a team that competes hard and plays well enough to lose 2-1.If you are general manager Lou Lamoriello, this is exactly where you want to be. That's a lot of term for a guy who is already 30 and was never a particularly speedy player to begin with, and that's a big cap hit for a guy who is playing better this season, but who remains limited athletically and offensively in a game very much trending a different direction. 29 trade deadline, with the Leafs roster containing nine pending unrestricted free agents, it should get even worse.The NHL made significant changes to the draft lottery system in order to prevent teams from purposely lose games. I still have trouble imagining Stamkos wanting anything to do with this franchise, given the long uphill climb that still lies ahead.
The problem the Leafs had moving him was his salary.They all came with their own set of factors, but the reality is that Bryan Murray lives in the real world, and in that world he knows it's a challenge for Ottawa to recruit established marquee players and keep them. If the Leafs finish with the worst record, they will pick no lower than fourth overall and will also have a 20% chance of winning the draft lottery and having the No. Michalek, who has been out with a broken finger, had to waive his "no trade" clause to go to the Leafs while Greening is making $2.625 million in the minors and was a candidate to be bought out at the end of the year. So it tells you he was comfortable months ago with this potential scenario. General manager Lou Lamoriello plans to exhaust the alphabet from A to Z to improve the Toronto Maple Leafs.
As one scout put it, “you want to do everything you can to be in the top 5” where excellent players such as Matthews, Puljujarvi, Tkachuk, Patrik Laine and Jakob Chychrun are waiting.That is what the Leafs are trying to guarantee. The team has 11 picks in this year’s draft, including two in the first round if Pittsburgh makes the playoffs. Adding Matthews or even Chychrun to a rebuilding team that already has Nylander and Mitch Marner in the pipeline would be huge.

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