Well, how about that? Of course, on one of the days where I don't have my laptop the office, a major deal goes down and an incomplete blog post has to get done to compete the news byte.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have managed to offload their captain Dion Phaneuf, as a part of a 9-player deal on Tuesday, sending some shock waves through the hockey world in Ontario. As the deal reads, it is Phaneuf, forward Casey Bailey, forward Matt Frattin, forward Ryan Rupert and junior defender Cody Donaghey to the Senators for defenseman Jared Cowen, forward Colin Greening, forward Milan Michalek, forward Tobias Lindberg and a 2017 2nd round draft pick.
According to the Ottawa Senators' Twitter account, no salary was retained on either side, as the cap hits on either side of the deal, actually favour the Leafs, who took care of Phaneuf's $7 million cap hit over the next five years, by taking on $9.75 million next season by the three bigger names in the deal from Ottawa.
The deal has some real benefits for both sides, which makes it exceptionally interesting from a logistics point of view.
Both teams get to unload some players that they've been wanting to move for sometime, be it for culture reasons, expectations and/or salary cap reasons. On top of that, the Maple Leafs move forward with their rebuilding plans, picking up a much needed draft pick, prospect and three salaried players that don't have more than one more year on their deals, giving the team some much-needed flexibility for these players to either succeed or move on with ease.
In the Senators' case, they can give their captain, Erik Karlsson, some much needed support and depth with the acquisition of Phaneuf, because whether you like it or not, he still does carry some benefit to the team, either offensively or physically. Phaneuf may not dominate the game, but he does have some value and he would fit in, as a secondary defender.
The Senators are only 4 points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race and in order to get there, they needed some extra help. With the youthful forwards carrying the scoring load, there was little question that they could offload Michalek, move pieces that were not playing and a pick to get a reputable defender, plus some miscellaneous pieces to move forward. This certainly has a short-term win in for the Senators, but some real long-term benefits for the Leafs.
Out of nine players and 2017 draft pick, there is only one player that actually has any impact on the hockey pool this year and that's the centrepiece of the deal, Phaneuf. Brian has the embattled defender on his team and arguably, he may have gotten a bit of a boost with this deal. His team currently sits in 10th place, 36 points out of the money and going to an improved offense could certainly help Phaneuf and Brian, although not to the point of closing the gap all the way. Every little bit helps though, right?
An interesting deal for both sides, with the Dustin Byfuglien signing it has opened up the log jam on defencemen. At first, it struck me as a “we will take your garbage, if you take mine,” but with a little thought, I like the deal for both teams. Ottawa does get a huge contract with Phaneuf, but they also get a steady defenseman that can help out Karlsson on the back end for 3-4 years. As for the Leafs, they have a new direction in the front office and are at the beginning of a rebuild. Management being able to offload that long term contract will greatly help their rebuild.