Phaneuf: A Missed Opportunity, Or A Wise Pass?

As I’ve been saying all along, the rumours around the availability of Dion Phaneuf have been broad and persistent since the beginning of training camp last September.

This was denied by many in the media, and the Flames themselves but, in a salary cap world, having two #1 Dmen salaries, as in any position, is untenable.  One of either Phaneuf or JBo had to go, and with CGY making the effort to land JBo, after already having Phaneuf, well, it didn’t take a hockey insider to see Phaneuf was skating on thin ice in Calgary.

Several times over the course of the season credible sources have stated that CGY and OTT were in discussions surrounding Phaneuf, but in every instance a quality Dman was involved in the exchange, most frequently A-Train.  I just couldn’t see it happening.

If OTT were willing to commit 6.5M in cap space for a struggling (albeit, still above average) Phaneuf, a known malcontent, why not just resign Volchy instead, for far less?  Add to this the potential emergence of Wiercioch & Cowen, and it simply made no sense…at least to me.

In the trade TOR gave up a solid performer in White, which lends some credibility to the information I had received concerning CGY’s desire for a quality Dman in return.  Does this mean the info was true?  Hell no, and I hadn’t heard anything specific in the days prior to the TOR/CGY deal.

Considering the package garnered by CGY for Phaneuf, one would have to expect the asking price from Ottawa would have looked something like Volchy, Foligno, Kelly & Bass for Phaneuf and a fair to middling prospect.

Now, if Phaneuf were a straight ahead salary dump, like may be the case with a Versteeg or Barker, then the package MAY have been worth considering.  But when the “key” player being moved is available due to “chemistry” issues and a gap between salary and performance, well, let’s just say paying a player elite money, for above average performance, at best, is not something you give up quality to acquire, IMO.

Will Dion develop into a legit #1, as he’s being paid to be?  Quit possibly, but it’s equally fair to expect he will remain the frustrating player he has turned out to be in Calgary.

No, considering the Sens are not in the desperate situation the Leafs find themselves in, there was no good reason to chase rainbows…even if the pot of gold turns out to be there.

In fact, when you look at the return Murray negotiated for Heatley, maybe Sundays trade shows he deserves two pats on the back…



6 Responses to “Phaneuf: A Missed Opportunity, Or A Wise Pass?”

  1. Forget Heatley, he’s gone, we got lucky!

    #3 is a late hitting, defencively challenged D-man, he and Komo will become a joke for they (the Zebras) will only be able to non-call them for awhile before they have to start to call them…neither one of these guys can stand with a tough middle weight!

    Bryan may have pulled the triger on your trade early in the year but the scouting reports on “Neon” were brutal and they were accurate!

  2. Agreed, more than happy to have Meee-atleys’ cap space to use elsewhere.

  3. Friendly Neighbourhood MOP Says:

    Yeah, the price Burke paid for Phaneuf was a bit much – Hagman has a few years left (3M), White is RFA (2M+ is my guess or Cam Barker $) and Stajan is UFA (so this is a contract year). Stajan could get 3+ as a 1C, 2A Centre. Mayers was an extra because he wanted out and is useable. Volchenkov, Foligno and a pick or prospect may be worth a Phaneuf. I would do likewise for Weber.

    We may come to hate Dion – as we did Bryan McCabe. Simply because he will be a pain in our ass and put up points.

    My fear is Volchenkov will be signed by another team for 5M+ in July. Sure there’ll be 2.5M in space freed up but the shot blocking locomotive hole on D will missed.

  4. SensFaninTO Says:

    Spezza will have a chance to kick his a$$ in the rematch on Saturday.

    • Aahaha! So true. I was at that game, and remember the awe of everyone when it was Spez who stepped up after the hit on Heatley (a clean hit BTW).
      My respect for Spezza grew leaps and bounds after that game, and in my view, Spezza has become a better player every game since.

  5. I have a feeling Phaneuf will be a total basket-case by the end of next season. If people think he had an attitude problem in Calgary wait to see what happens in the big smoke. The Toronto media and Ron Wilson will bring out the absolute worst in him.

    As a Senators fan, I’m thrilled that the Leafs have built their team around two “character” guys like Kessel and Phaneuf. No matter how much Burke tries to sell it – he can’t escape the fact that these are two promising young players that are loathed by their former teammates and coaches.

    Of course, they both could turn over a new leaf (bad pun intended) – but something tells me that Sutter tried everything he could before he finally dealt Phaneuf.

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