After parts of seven seasons as a Toronto Maple Leaf, Dion Phaneuf was traded to the division rival Ottawa Senators on Tuesday in a nine-player blockbuster trade.
Toronto fans had a … strained relationship with their former captain. Over the course of 423 games as a Leaf, his play never seemed to match his pay grade. Touted as a pure No. 1 defenceman, Brian Burke acquired Phaneuf on Jan. 31, 2010, from the Calgary Flames in exchange for the human equivalent of a bag of pucks. Uncharacteristically, Leaf fans had high hopes for the then 24-year-old.
Under Ron Wilson and Randy Carlyle, Phaneuf was left exposed in up-tempo systems and struggled mightily to fuse together his hard-hitting style of play with that of a dependable defencemen who could be counted on to make the safe play. Whether it was the expectations of captaining an Original Six franchise, or just the game evolving outside of Phaneuf’s skill set, he never fully regained the form shown in Calgary that saw him nominated for the Calder and Norris trophies. Fair or not, Phaneuf’s tenure as Leaf captain will be remembered as the most tumultuous in the club’s 99 year history.
His current deal, signed in December 2013, will see him play for Ottawa until the 2020-21 season. Few fans ever thought their team would get out from under the long-term contracts of Phil Kessel, David Clarkson and Phaneuf, but in just 12 short months, Toronto management has managed to buff out the remaining scuffs left by the Burke and Dave Nonis administrations.
Catching Leaf Nation in a collective state of rejoicing isn’t something that happens often, so Tim and Sid wanted to capture the moment in a Match Game.
“My reaction to the Phaneuf trade was ____”
Here are some of the best responses so far:
Get in on the action by tweeting your Match Game response to Tim and Sid on Twitter @timandsid, using the #matchgame hashtag.