#Sens get Phaneuf, Frattin, Bailey, Rupert and Donaghey in exchange for Cowen, Greening, Michalek, Lindberg and 2nd-rounder in 2017.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 9, 2016
This is a lot to take in, let’s get going on this.
First off, the Leafs have managed to dump an incredibly long, and expensive cap hit in exchange for three bad contracts in Greening, Cowen, and Michalek that expire after next season. The Leafs have also managed to gain an extra SPC out of the deal by unloading long shot prospects Bailey, Rupert, and Donaghey, along with Matt Frattin. No salary was retained by the Leafs.
The true gains out this are Tobias Lindberg, and the 2017 2nd Round Pick.
At this point, Phaneuf is far and away the real only NHL talent in this deal, other than Michalek who once again has been shelved due to his injuries, so there is a bit of a loss by giving up a legitimate top four defenseman.
Casey Bailey was a Leafs NCAA recruit that never saw his game translate to the AHL, Ryan Rupert has shown to be a serviceable AHL bottom sixer, but is easily expendable, and Cody Donaghey was training camp signee who suffered a major setback injury and has fallen off the radar on the new Leafs regime. Matt Frattin despite numerous attempts hasn’t been the player the Leafs wanted him to be either. This was strictly about moving out contracts.
As for what’s coming in, we’ll start with the 2017 2nd round pick. It’s great. Dion for a 2nd was always the dream, and this pick will be incredibly valuable in a year where the Leafs will be forfeiting a 3rd round pick to either Detroit or New Jersey.
Jared Cowen is barely holding onto a job in the NHL, but he should be more than capable of serving as a bottom pairing guy for the next couple up until next seasons trade deadline when hopefully he can be flipped.
Milan Michalek, if he’s ever healthy enough to play will be a solid top nine forward for the Leafs, and would give them the freedom to shop other forwards, as well his Michalek at next year’s deadline.
And Colin Greening may or may not be return to the NHL, but he’s a worthwhile risk and like Cowen, and Michalek, the price of doing business with Ottawa.
Last and certainly not least is Tobias Lindstrom and I asked our resident Oshawa Generals ticket holder, Tom Hunter to fill in the blanks on an interesting prospect:
Tobias Lindberg was a revelation in Oshawa last season. As a rookie in the OHL, he scored 32 goals and had 78 points in 67 games playing on the second line behind Michael Dal Colle. During the playoffs he lines up alongside Canadien’s first round pick Michael McCarron and put up almost a point per game while playing on the line that was tasked with shutting down the opposition’s best forwards. He’s played a huge role in neutralizing Connor McDavid during the OHL finals last season.
He is a big bodied winger that has high end skating ability. He has a great shot and underrated passing ability. He’ll play in all three zones and will likely be a penalty killer in the NHL. He doesn’t have top line potential but has a very good chance to slot into a middle-6 role and on a good team. He has the upside of an all-around second liner that can score 20-25 goals and top out at 60 points while playing on your team’s top penalty-kill unit. At the very least Lindberg projects to be a 3rd line winger who can chip in secondary offense while playing a defensive role.
The real win is what we always knew it would, and that’s Phaneuf’s contract being gone. As the Leafs prospects leave their entry level deals it is now possible to extend them without worry.
Phaneuf’s absence also allows for the reunited of Gardiner and Rielly, which is something many of us are desperate to see more of.
Right now, this is an exciting time, as another significant change has been made to move the Leafs in the right direction.