Report: Red Wings No Longer In On Phaneuf

That was fun while it lasted.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Detroit Red Wings are no longer interested in acquiring Dion Phaneuf today, taking themselves out of consideration after acquiring Marek Zidlicky from the New Jersey Devils.

From the man himself:

That pretty much takes the Red Wings out of the mix in terms of showing any interest in Dion Phaneuf going forward… It’s going quiet, and that’s because the REd Wings have basically now pulled off. It was just a deal that was so difficult to manage in the magnitude of Phaneuf’s remaining term and salary, how much the Toronto Maple Leafs would have to retain etc.. Toronto still believes that they have great flexibility in the offseason.
There’s still an opportunity, I suppose, for the Maple Leafs to engage one of there other players… between now and 3pm Eastern, but the Red Wings are now out on Dion Phaneuf.

And more from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press:

While the Leafs brass and many Toronto fans appear to be ready to move on from Phaneuf and his large contract, they may have dodged a bullet. 

We’ve mentioned a few times that Detroit wanted Toronto to retain as much as $2M, and Jeffler has already talked about why that’s a risky move.

I’ll build on that and say it would have been a bad idea. Even if Detroit included a first round pick or top prospect, I’m not sure that carrying $2M in dead cap space for the next six seasons is worth the return.

As has been said all along, it probably makes more sense to wait until the offseason and deal Phaneuf when more teams are able and willing to make big, franchise-altering decisions. It’s understandable that teams can’t take on all of Phaneuf’s contract, but the Leafs need to do everything to take on a bad contract as opposed to retaining salary for half-a-decade. It’d be much more preferable to take on a $5M contract for two years as opposed to retaining $12M over six years. The Leafs will certainly have the cap space to do it.