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…