Even though the Dion Phaneuf trade rumors have died down somewhat, there is one situation where I think a trade could be mutually beneficial for both teams. That trade would be between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche.
The rumors that have the Leafs either shopping Phaneuf or just simply listening to offers have made much more noise than any other time during his tenure as a Leaf. After signing a seven-year contract extension during this season, it’s quite amazing that these rumors are even out there but the Leafs might need to move on.
In Colorado, there is going to be some wiggling around with their cap. The Avalanche want to improve their blue line; however, their center situation is staring them right in the face.
Paul Stastny is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He had a $6.6-million cap hit with his last contract. He should get a long-term contract and a raise from that after the successful season he had this year. On top of Stastny, the Avs have Ryan O’Reilly set to become a restricted free agent and due a $6.5-million qualifying offer.
The Avalanche will need to make a decision. Do they re-sign Stastny? If they do, can they afford to pay O’Reilly $6.5-million and still improve their defense?
Could the Leafs step in and help solve their problem? A straight Phaneuf-for-O’Reilly deal could work, with or without the Leafs retaining some of Phaneuf’s $7-million cap hit. There is also a chance they could make the deal bigger, with the Leafs taking on a bad contract from the Avalanche.
Phaneuf would give Colorado some experience on the blue line while O’Reilly’s two-way game would greatly benefit the Leafs. A trade centering around these two players would certainly help both teams.
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ offseason will be one to watch for sure.