Fantasy Hockey Impact: Analyzing the Dion Phaneuf trade

Mark Spector of Sportsnet.ca joins Roger Millions to talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs trading captain Dion Phaneuf and what the Leafs will do to fill the captaincy role.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators in a nine-player deal.

The Senators get: Phaneuf, Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghey. Of this group, Bailey, Rupert and Frattin are bit players, while Donaghey is young and has some upside, but is years away. For the Sens, this is all about Dion.

They get a solid two-way defenceman with some offensive upside, but they are also saddled with another five years on a pretty big cap hit ($7 million). But Phaneuf joins a team that has a superstar on the blue line. The focus will always be on Erik Karlsson.


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Phaneuf’s arrival in Ottawa means that Cody Ceci, unfortunately, likely gets knocked back off the power play for the most part. That’s a real shame because Ceci had eight points in his past 10 games (though just two on the power play). This trade also completely knocks Chris Wideman out of the mix and Patrick Wiercioch was already off the PP even before the announcement.

Can Erik Karlsson somehow perform even better because of this? It doesn’t seem possible, given his scoring pace. But Phaneuf should shift a bit of the focus away from Karlsson. It just seems hard to imagine Karlsson taking yet another step forward.

Projections for the rest of the season:
Karlsson: seven goals, 33 points in 28 games
Phaneuf: two goals, eight points in 28 games
Ceci: two goals, eight points in 28 games
Wideman: one goal, three points in 13 games
Wiercioch: one goal, two points in 26 games


The Maple Leafs get: Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Tobias Lindberg and a second-round draft pick. This deal is all about Lindberg and the second-rounder. Lindberg is a decent prospect who joins a secondary tier of good prospects for the Leafs. (See Lindberg’s fantasy prospect profile here)

Cowen exploded onto the scene in 2013-14 with an impressive rookie campaign thanks to a mix of size (6-foot-5, 238 pounds), strength and two-way ability. His young career mimics Luke Schenn's, which means that his fall from grace was just as steep and just as rapid. Only two years later and Ottawa fans couldn’t get rid of him soon enough. Very sheltered with his minutes, Cowen has still struggled this year and he has seen his share of healthy scratches. But at 25, Toronto has nothing to lose by giving him the rest of this season and all of next year to show his stuff.

Greening is a fringe NHL player and is currently in the minors. This works out perfectly for the Leafs. They can ice an ‘NHL’ team filled with Greenings and that will buy them time until the summer when they can take a run at free agents who will improve their team (Steven Stamkos?).

Despite his status as a former 60-point player, those days are long gone for Michalek. So don’t get any delusions. The only player in this deal worth owning in a one-year league is Phaneuf. The only other player worthy of ownership in a keeper league is Lindberg. And that’s if your league is very deep because Lindberg will be a couple of years before reaching his scoring-line upside.

So this is about Phaneuf. In leaving the Leafs, he frees up a lot of power play time for other Blue and White blueliners, which will quickly be filled by Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly.

Projections for the rest of the season:
Rielly: four goals, 19 points in 30 games
Gardiner: three goals, 14 points in 30 games
Michalek: four goals, 11 points in 27 games