Dion Phaneuf has been here before.
Phaneuf had logged 10:50 of ice-time against the Pittsburgh Penguins but was sent to the locker room midway through the second period of a 6-3 Sens loss as the two teams and the NHL were finalizing the trade.
The 32-year-old spoke to reporters at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh following the game and reflected on his two-plus seasons with the Sens.
“I want to thank the Ottawa Senators organization for my time with them. That’s first and foremost,” the veteran blueliner said. “I’ve got nothing but nice things to say about he city of Ottawa, about the organization and about my time here.”
Phaneuf was selected ninth overall by the Calgary Flames in 2003 and spent the first 4 1/2 seasons of his professional career there before being dealt to the Maple Leafs in January 2010. He spent parts of seven seasons in Toronto and became the 18th captain in franchise history before being shipped to Ottawa in a nine-player blockbuster in February of 2016.
“It’s disappointing when you do get moved but in saying that I’m very excited about where I’m going, the team that I’m going to and to be a Los Angeles King,” he said. “I’m honoured to be going there, I’m excited about the team that they have, where they’re at in the standings and I’m going to go there and do my best to do whatever I can to help their team.”
Phaneuf is a veteran of 955 career NHL regular-season games yet has only suited up for 51 playoff games, 19 of which occurred one year ago when the Sens made an improbable run to the Eastern Conference final.
“They’ve got a really good group of guys here,” Phaneuf said of his now-former Sens teammates. “What we went through last year, as far as we went, I’ll never forget that as a player. I’ve got fond memories of playing in Ottawa.”
The Kings are the first American team Phaneuf has ever played for, but considering his wife is famous actress Elisha Cuthbert, moving to Los Angeles could be an easy transition for Phaneuf.
“Right now it’s a lot [to take in]. There’s a lot of different emotions but for me I’m really excited about where I’m going,” he added. “For me, personally, it’s good situation but the business is the business. It’s a business decision that the Ottawa Senators wanted to move me and I respect that.”
The Kings visit the Penguins Thursday so Phaneuf is staying put in Pennsylvania for the time being until his new teammates arrive.
“It’s a different situation. I’m not flying anywhere right now to meet them so my gear’s staying here and I am too.”