It’s Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Tuesday) and the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators served up a fat stack of “WOW!” to hockey fans as Dion Phaneuf now sees himself on the other side of the Battle of Ontario.
In a nine-player swap, the Maple Leafs sent their captain plus forwards Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and defensive prospect Cody Donaghey to the Sens in exchange for forwards Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Tobias Lindberg, defenceman Jared Cowen and a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Phaneuf was a polarizing figure in Toronto with many fans feeling he hasn’t lived up to a seven-year, $49-million extension he signed on New Year’s Eve in 2013.
We were besieged with Phaneuf rumours ahead of last season’s trade deadline, but nothing came to fruition. Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported at the time the Leafs had a potential deal in place with Detroit but Toronto wanted Anthony Mantha and the Red Wings didn’t want to part ways with the prospect.
Last April, former Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis told Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun he “could have traded Dion at the deadline” but they never pulled the trigger.
The new Maple Leafs regime, led by team president Brendan Shanahan, hasn’t been as gun-shy. They traded Phil Kessel to the Penguins in a Canada Day blockbuster, stockpiled players with movable contracts and this Phaneuf deal is further proof the franchise is in full rebuild mode.
There was no shortage of reaction on social media to Tuesday’s trade.
Not everyone was necessarily on board with the move.
As was to be expected, the Steven Stamkos hot takes were plentiful.