Being a captain seems to mean less after every season in the NHL. Some teams choose not to even have a captain. These days, captains can even be swapped in trades on a whim such as the Marty St. Louis for Ryan Callahan trade between the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
So, in the spirit of that type of trade, could the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks do the same? Both have captains that haven’t exactly lived up to their expectations in their respective cities. Dion Phaneuf has been a target of Leafs Nation almost since he was acquired. Joe Thornton hasn’t been able to lead the Sharks to playoff success.
This leads to the question that is inevitably asked when players are struggling. Would a change of scenery help?
The Sharks might not be able to re-sign defenseman Dan Boyle this off-season and Phaneuf might be a suitable replacement for him. Everyone in Toronto has been clamoring for a big No. 1 center for years. Thornton would certainly fit that bill.
The other thing that both Phaneuf and Thornton have in common is that the hockey media has said that they both could be stripped as their captaincy as a result of their team’s failings. Of course, stripping a player of his captaincy could have negative results, so a trade is more likely.
Phaneuf only makes $250,000 more than Thornton so a straight trade between the two would work out. What do you guys think? Is this a trade the Leafs should explore?