Phaneuf already! Locking up Dion for seven years is good for Maple Leafs
By Chris Savard
The Toronto Maple Leafs recently signed captain Dion Phaneuf to a seven year, $49 million deal and there are many that think General Manager Dave Nonis made a mistake. This deal works out to a cap hit of $7.0 million per year, only marginally larger than his current $6.5 annual impact. I, for one, believe this is a good deal for the Buds.
Stoney Point - January 1, 2014 - The Toronto Maple Leafs recently signed captain Dion Phaneuf to a seven year, $49 million deal and there are many that think General Manager Dave Nonis made a mistake. This deal works out to a cap hit of $7.0 million per year, only marginally larger than his current $6.5 annual impact. I, for one, believe this is a good deal for the Buds.
Phaneuf currently logs the most ice time on the Blue and White with over 24 minutes per game – on a team that gives up over 35 shots per game. The Captain is called upon to play all the tough minutes against the opponents’ top line and yet he still sits at a very impressive plus 15 for the season.
When he was with the Calgary Flames he was known as an offensive defenseman and now he plays a much more complete role. Despite this change in his focus, he still sits at an admirable 0.42 points per game.
Compare his numbers to some of the other top defencemen in the league. Minnesota Wild pay Ryan Suter $12.0 million for his 0.57 PPG and -4 plus/minus. Nashville Predators’ Shea Weber makes $14.0 million per year and has posted 0.59 PPG and a disastrous -13. In Florida, Brian Campbell makes more than Phaneuf and has scored 0.46 PPG and is a plus 1. This follows an ugly -22 last season.
Another way to put this in perspective, Vancouver Canucks pay defenceman Jason Garrison $6.5 million per season.
Maybe, just maybe, I have my blue and white blinders on. I liked the trade that Brian Burke made to bring Phaneuf to Toronto and I like the deal that Nonis did to keep him in the provincial capital.
The core of Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, James Van Riemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul and Jonathan Bernier is a solid start to bringING this team back into contention. The real challenges will be what else Nonis can package up to compliment the core and what can Head Coach Randy Carlyle get out of his team.
Time will tell, but as of today I am happy to have Phaneuf locked up.
In his lifetime, Chris Savard has spent time as both an elected official and a hot air balloon pilot. As such, FULL OF HOT AIR seemed to be an appropriate name for this column. Savard will provide his thoughts on a number of topics including hockey on this site, as well as politics and local issues on OurHometown.ca. His opinion combined with $1.60 will buy you a medium coffee at Tim's! You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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