What’s Going On With Dion Phaneuf and the Detroit Red Wings?

We’re getting conflicting reports from Sportsnet and TSN, but nonetheless, there’s a lot of talk around the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Dion Phaneuf.

Not long ago, Sportsnet’s John Shannon reported that the Detroit Red Wings have no interest in Dion Phaneuf at this time, throwing a whole bunch of cold water on TSN’s Darren Dreger’s earlier reports that Detroit and two other teams had talked to the Leafs about their captain.

From Shannon:

Wishful thinking from maple Leafs fans that Dion Phaneuf was going out of town. If the thought was that he’s going to Detroit, he’s not going to Detroit. There is at this point no way that Dion Phaneuf is going to be a Detroit Red Wing. It certainly looks like that right now.

Now, Dreger is back with an update, and he’s not ready to concede. Apparently, Dion-to-Detroit is still very much a possibility. More after the jump!

Well as of a short while ago the Toronto Maple Leafs were still awaiting an offer from the Detroit Red Wings or any team that would be interested in the services of Dion Phaneuf. 
As we reported… earlier this morning at least 3 teams – Detroit and two teams from the Western Conference – are believed to be very interested in Dion Phaneuf. What might complicate things though is the rate of return the Philadelphia Flyers got for Braydon Coburn going to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and what Craig MacTavish and the Edmonton Oilers also got for Jeff Petry. 
So if you’re the Detroit Red Wings – as an example – I’m sure they’re huddling trying to figure out  how much they need Dion Phaneuf not only this year, but moving forward, how do you make the money work, what contracts have to go out the other way, but there’s most definitely a connection that still exists between Detroit and Toronto.

Dreger certainly seems confident in his report and offers more details than Shannon did, but it’s still a lot more likely that Phaneuf remains a Leaf through this afternoon’s deadline. Also, I can’t imagine both Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston, two very smart and connected guys, would sit beside Shannon on one of Sportsnet’s panels and not speak up if they knew any better.

Whatever the case, we will keep you updated if anything else comes to light.

UPDATE:

Ansar Khan of MLive.com is reporting that the Red Wings are very much interested in Phaneuf, but are looking for the Leafs to retain $2M of his salary for the next six years. That’s a significant amount of dead cap space to carry for so long, so the value coming back to Toronto better be significant. 

Khan says that if Detroit expects to land Phaneuf at $5M per year, it will likely cost the Wings their 2015 first round pick. While it would be pretty amazing for the Leafs to hold three first round picks in the upcoming draft, that alone isn’t worth taking on that financial burden. If the Leafs are going to retain salary, which they should avoid doing at all costs, they need to be asking for the moon.

ANOTHER UPDATE:

Looks like the Leafs are in fact asking for the move, but that might kill the deal altogether…