There will be a lot of moving trucks traveling between Ottawa and Toronto in the coming days, thanks to the NHL trade deadline. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators pulled off a blockbuster, nine-player trade Tuesday. The trade centerpiece involved Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf heading to the Senators.
Ottawa received Phaneuf as well as forward Matt Frattin, forward Casey Bailey, forward Ryan Rupert and defense prospect Cody Donaghey from the Toronto in exchange for defenseman Jared Cowen, forwards Colin Greening, Milan Michalek and Tobias Lindberg as well as Ottawa’s second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. There was not salary retention making this a straight up player trade.
Phaneuf, 30, still has five more years remaining on his contract after this season at a $7-million cap hit and the Senators were on Phaneuf’s 10-team list of clubs he would accept a trade to making the deal a “slam dunk”.
The trade clear up significant cap room for Toronto, who many believe are stocking up to take a real shot at signing pending pending unrestricted free-agent Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning this summer. This is also the first of what is believed to be several deals that Toronto will be making as they look to part with a number of pending UFA players in the hopes of landing draft picks and/or prospects.
Ottawa is hoping that the addition of Phaneuf boosts them to the playoffs and believe that he will perform better because he won’t have the pressure of being the captain and won’t have the expectation of being a top-pairing defenseman.
Phaneuf spent the first four-plus years of his career in Calgary before being traded to Toronto in January 2010. Phaneuf, 30, has three goals and 24 points assists in 51 games with the Leafs this season.
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