The captain has committed himself to the Toronto Maple Leafs for another seven years in exchange for somewhere very close to $49-million, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. In a series of tweets from around 10:30 this morning, Dreger announced the deal had been finalized.
What does this mean for the club? Phaneuf is already the highest paid member of the team,with a cap hit of $6.5-million expiring at the end of this year. Assuming the numbers are accurate, Phaneuf’s raise of half a million dollars isn’t monumental considering the cap is due to go up drastically over the next number of years.
James Reimer, Jake Gardiner, Cody Franson, Mason Raymond and Peter Holland are among the Leafs whose contracts also expire at the end of the year. Many, if not all of them, are likely to see increases of half a million or greater.
In terms of league comparables (all contract numbers and terms are from CapGeek.com), five other players are currently tied for 20th in highest overall cap-hit at exactly $7-million. With the cap going up as mentioned previously, Dion’s contract will be a lesser overall share of the available cap space than any of those players currently. For comparison’s sake, those players are Mike Cammalleri, Chris Pronger (who will spend the remainder of his contract on long-term injured reserve at no impact to the Philadelphia Flyers’ cap), Pekka Rinne, Jonathan Quick, Corey Perry and Alexander Semin.
That seems like pretty exclusive company. However, if the Maple Leafs have any hopes of winning a championship, their captain and top defender should be valued within the top-25 or higher in the league. Dion is a valued member of the Leafs who consistently plays most of his minutes against some of the best players in the NHL.
According to Dreger, there is also a limited no-trade clause included in the deal. Phaneuf would be forced to pick between “more than 10 teams” (likely 15) if the Leafs’ front office wanted to move him.
Phanuef will be 35 in the last season of his contract, but in seven years contracts in excess of $7-million will be far more common and I believe that the signing goes a long way to securing his needed talent for the foreseeable future.
Dave Nonis will hold a press conference at 1:30 ET this afternoon. It will air on Leafs TV and the Leafs’ website.