Dion Phaneuf was the main piece in a nine-player deal between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators today.
“This was a transaction that certainly wasn’t for today,” said Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello. “This gives us the opportunity to do things, but it also gives us the opportunity when some of our younger players that are coming at the end of their entry-level contracts, who we have high expectations for, to be able to sign them.”
Lamoriello’s comments refer largely to unloading Phaneuf’s massive $7 million cap hit. When you add in the contracts of Phil Kessel and David Clarkson that Lamoriello has also cleared since coming in as general manager last July and the Maple Leafs have recouped roughly $19 million per season in cap space.
“Dion is going to leave a hole in our lineup, there’s no question,” Lamoriello said. “But I think as I’ve said continuously, what the overall plan is, that when you have an opportunity to do this, [you do it]…this is a transaction that I think we had no choice with.”
Here’s the full breakdown of the trade:
Toronto Maple Leafs receive…
Jared Cowen, D
Milan Michalek, LW
Colin Greening, LW
Tobias Lindberg, RW
2017 second-round pick
Ottawa Senators receive…
Dion Phaneuf, D
Matt Frattin, RW
Casey Bailey, C/RW
Ryan Rupert, C
Cody Donaghey, D
The Senators are currently on the outside looking in on the playoff picture, but they know that to make a deep run they needed a veteran addition to their lineup and a more physical presence on their blue line.
“The way our [defense] played this year, there wasn’t a lot of growth there, there wasn’t a lot of very good performances in a lot of games, so we had to address that first,” said Senators general manager Bryan Murray. “So now that’s been addressed.”
Murray continued by saying that this move illustrates his team’s committment to winning.
“I think this solidifies where we’re going,” he said. “I hope it sends a message to our group that we’re trying to win here.”