Sunday, January 31, 2010

Leafs Land Phaneuf

2009/2010 NHL Statistics
To TorontoPositionAgeGPGoalsPoints2010 Cap Hit2011 Cap Hit
Dion PhaneufDefenseman24551022$6.5 million$6.5 million
Fredrik SjostromForward264616$750,000$750,000
Keith AulieDefenseman20000$758,000$758,000
To CalgaryPositionAgeGPGoalsPoints2010 Cap Hit2011 Cap Hit
Matt StajanForward26551641$1.75 millionUFA
Niklas HagmanForward30552033$3 million$3 million
Jamal MayersForward354428$1.333 millionUFA
Ian WhiteDefenseman2556926$850,000RFA

Well, there is only one potential trade that could be bigger than this one, but for now this is a pretty big deal. The Flames shipped out Dion Phaneuf in a package to the Leafs in exchange for a package of four players, which includes Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman. In short, the Flames are parting with one of their superstar defensemen, who has been rumoured to be problem in the room, while the Leafs are shifting four players in part of their restructuring plan, including a pair of decent offensive talents.

The Leafs will definitely get an upgrade in offense from the blueline with Phaneuf and will get a little extra speed and grit with the acquisition of Fredrik Sjostrom. Sjostrom should fit in well with some of the speed that already exists on the team. Keith Aulie is a very good compliment for the Leafs in this deal, as he's projected to be a good solid defenseman as well, likely making a good pairing with a guy like Luke Schenn down the road.

As for the Flames, they will get some desperately needed help up front with the addition of Stajan and Hagman, who are having decent seasons, taking into account what kind of team they've been playing on all year. The coach & system shouldn't differ too much from Toronto, which should make the transition easier in the end. Stajan will likely get his hand at centering Jarome Iginla, while Hagman will try and compliment Olli Jokinen, in an attempt to spread out the offense and get more from two lines. Jamal Mayers will give a little bit more veteran presence to the third or fourth line, while Ian White is the lesser role defenseman, who will likely slot behind Jay Bouwmeester, Marc Giordano and Robyn Regehr.

Salary CapIn this deal, there is plenty of cap space shifted around, including the massive cap hit that Dion carries with him, $6.5 million per year for another four seasons after this. The overall cap hit that the Flames have to take on for the remainder of this season is much less than what they were just going to pay Phaneuf, so there is a huge bonus there. Assuming that Mikael Backlund and Jamie Lundmark go down to the minors, the Flames would then have an annual cap hit of $55 million, but there is a lot more math to go into this equation than just that. The Flames are likely still rather close to the $56.8 million cap, especially when you take in the difference of having Phaneuf in your line-up for 55 games, instead of the four players in return.

The Leafs, on the other hand, are not done on Sunday, so I will hold off on their actual cap numbers until I have finished up with their other deal.

ImplicationsSo, let's go down the line, shall we? Dion Phaneuf moves to Toronto, which could very well be an improvement without all the trade distractions and rumoured locker room issues. He has a clean slate, which John B. will likely appreciate in the Draft. Phaneuf was also taken 14 times in the Sheet pool, which might have a big impact on the pool, depending on if any of the money teams have him. Matt Stajan is a pick of John P.'s this season, which doesn't have much of an effect on the money in the Draft. Stajan was also taken once in the Sheet pool, so little movement should happen with his move. Niklas Hagman wasn't taken in the Draft, but was taken four times in the Sheet pool. Ian White was a top available defenseman at the second Waiver Draft, but everyone passed on him, but he does have one selection to his name on the Sheet. Sjostrom, Aulie & Mayers were all not fantasy worthy this year.

As much as the Leafs have landed a top-level defenseman (when he is on his game) in Phaneuf, the Flames have picked up two rent-to-own UFA's, a possible un-qualified RFA and Niklas Hagman, who is a solid two-way player with a contract past 2010, so they have plenty of things to smile about in this deal. I would say that the Flames did well enough to call it a win off the hop, especially with cap flexibility next season, which is huge. Whether or not its enough to turn their season around, that's another story. It is, however, a good start.

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