They say to judge a sports trade you have to look at the best player involved. In this case, it was Christmas for Ottawa GM as he landed Leafs D man Dion Phaneuf in a block buster trade with the Leafs.
While the Leafs are doing their fandangled rebuild from the ground up; the Sens are in what most likely will be the last year for Bryan Murray who is fighting cancer. The trade is highly interesting in the cap age in that it’s pretty much a wash with Milan Michalek who has been injured or disappointing since being resigned and the much maligned Jared Cowan for Phaneuf. While Dion has longer term the salaries will wash for a few seasons depending on what the Leafs do.
The Sens get Phaneuf, Casey Bailey, Matt Frattin, Ryan Rupert plus d prospect Cody Donaghey. Only Phaneuf will have any impact on the team’s quest to the play offs as they sit 6 points to a ticket to the last act of this season.
Frattin has 22 points in 47 AHL games this season, the others are not high level prospects.
Toronto gets Jared Cowen who is still young and still recovering from his hip woes of a few years ago. He has upside, and half the price of Phaneuf with a lot less term was an interesting pick up. The former 1st round pick’s best year was 2013/14 when he put up 15 pints in 68 games.
What this does for the Sens is take a ton of pressure and ice time from Erik Karlsson with Phaneuf providing far more than Cowen could ever without losing a key player or 1st round pick. With Phaneuf locked in the team will have stability as well which will help the development of home town boy Cody Ceci. It also gives the Sens a powerful power play with both Phaneauf and Karlsson manning the line.
Toronto gets a player that may develop further or may land better future assets. They don’t have to retain salary on Phaneuf and dump his $7M of cap space and salary as well as a 2nd round draft pick.
This trade is pretty close to call, but the edge has to go to Ottawa, and will put pressure on Habs GM Marc Bergevin as the Habs are in a death match with the Sens to try and scramble back into play off contention.
Leafs photo courtesy of Bill Parisien.