December 31 2013 10:50AM
You might think he's smiling because I'm incredibly charming, but it's actually because of his contract extension.
The Maple Leafs have re-signed their captain Dion Phaneuf to a seven-year $49 million contract. So what does that mean?
HERE COMES THE MONAYYYYY
Well first and foremost, this means the captain will have a $7 million cap hit for the next seven seasons. As of right now, only four defencemen in the NHL have a cap hit of $7 million or higher. Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, and Brian Campbell have a larger one, and Drew Doughty will now have the same cap hit as Phaneuf.
Mike Johnson made a point on TSN last week. Dion Phaneuf is the Leafs' undisputed #1 defenceman. Next season, the salary cap is projected to go up to $71 million. The Leafs are a cap team. If you're paying your top defenceman less than 10% of your cap, that's not bad. Look at it this way: The current salary cap is $64 million. 10% of that is $6.4 million. Right now, 36 players including 10 defencemen are making that or more against the cap.
So remember when I said only four other defencemen make $7 million or high against the cap? Remember that when in a couple years when there's way more.
BUT DOES STEVE LIKE THE DEAL?
Is this a good signing? Factions in Leafs Nation seem extremely divided on this. Even this site can't agree on it. Jeffler wrote this great piece on why Dion Phaneuf should get his money, and then Cam Charron followed it up with a great post of his own by questioning whether the captain really is all that and a bag of chips.
Me? I'm somewhere in the middle, probably leaning more to the defence of Dion Phaneuf.
Do I think Dion Phaneuf is a great defenceman? Yes.
Do I think Dion Phaneuf is an elite defenceman? No.
Does Phaneuf make great or elite money? I would say elite.
Will a $7 million cap hit be elite in a couple of years do to cap inflation? I would say no.
As I mentioned above, even with Phaneuf's raise, he still won't even be taking up 10% of the Leafs' cap next season. Two or three seasons from now, he will take up an even smaller amount of cap percentage. This doesn't mean you can go spending money like an idiot, but Dion Phaneuf is probably worth it on this team.
Who do they go out an replace him with? Exactly.
Y U NO LIKE?
Sundin was a God in Toronto. People often forget because of the way Sundin left the team (which is the team's own damn fault), but Sundin was a huge fan favourite as captain. Who didn't love Doug Gilmour? Who didn't love Wendel Clark? The Leafs have had some of their most beloved leaders in my lifetime.
Dion Phaneuf is not one of them.
Jonas Siegel put a valuable stat about Dion Phaneuf out there today.
No defenceman in the league has faced more difficult competition in the past 2 years than Phaneuf, this according to http://t.co/hb4ut27vSD.— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) December 31, 2013
Now look at some of the responses it got...
This drives me up a wall. How are you challenging a STATISTIC?!? IT'S A NUMBER!!! So no, not Chara.
That's actually a good question, but what does that have to do with this stat? It measures the quality of Phaneuf's competition, not Phaneuf.
Yes. I'm sure coaches league-wide would rather Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin take on Dion Phaneuf than Mark Fraser.
Should you be able to expect to lean on your #1 guy? Of course. But the Toronto Maple Leafs, the richest team in all of hockey, should be better than running their top guy ragged. Mix in a little depth, maybe?
The Leafs sucking is the reason Phaneuf faces the toughest competition. Nobody else on the D core can handle it, in Randy Carlyle's mind. He loves his matchups. If the other team's best guys are out there, Phaneuf is out there.
Anyway - point being, a lot of people do not like the current captain of the Leafs.
There are many opinions out there about the play of the Leafs' captain and his new deal. What say you?