Kypreos on trade talk: ‘Phaneuf is in play’

Dion Phaneuf will become a free agent after the 2013-14 season.

On the seventh anniversary of the Toronto Maple Leafs trading away goaltender Tuukka Rask to the Boston Bruins (for Andrew Raycroft) and one day after Toronto won a bidding war for Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, another significant deal could be brewing.

Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf’s name is being bandied about in trade talks, reports Hockey Central insider Nick Kypreos.

On the heels of Sunday’s Bernier trade — for whom the Leafs sent forward Matt Frattin, backup goaltender Ben Scrivens and a future second-round draft pick to L.A. — Toronto general manager Dave Nonis said he expected to make more moves in advance of July 5, when free agency opens for the NHL.

The Leafs have reportedly spoken with the Edmonton Oilers about centre Sam Gagner. It’s no secret that Edmonton, who ranked 19th overall in goals against in 2012-13, is searching for blue-line help and has a brigade of young, talented forwards to dangle.

Phaneuf’s six-year, $39-million deal with the Leafs will end at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season. The 28-year-old currently carries a $6.5 million hit against the cap, which will be lowered to $64.3 million for 2013-14.

The defenceman scored nine goals and 19 assists for the Leafs in 48 games played this season. He added another three points in the team’s heartbreaking seven-game loss to the Bruins in the opening round of these playoffs.

Nonis faces interesting decisions on both Phaneuf and star winger Phil Kessel this summer, as both starters are entering contract years.

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