Dion Phaneuf and Every Prospect Who Wasn’t Going to Pan Out Traded To Ottawa


This is a lot to take in, let’s get going on this.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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  • SEER

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all, to see Lou try and trade Michalek, Cowen and/or Greening.. and maybe even Lindberg if he has to…, for more draft picks… Dumping Phaneuf’s salary was the real big part of the trade for us.., imo…


    Hits & Slaps: Dion Phaneuf Montage – TML 2015-16

    –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEgYnTi-V6g

  • Aki Berg

    Dion probably only added Ottawa thinking it would never happen. Probably had Montreal on there as well (makes 12 team list smaller in reality).

    Am I the only one who doesn’t want Stamkos? Will eat up a lot of cap and far past his prime when the team is ready to contend.

  • Gary Empey

    Talent Analysis

    Tobias Lindberg is a big, strong winger with excellent passing skills, and a heavy, accurate shot. He also has the capacity to play in every game situation. As a member of the Oshawa Generals last season, he adapted wonderfully to the team’s smothering 200-foot game and helped to shut down big-time scorers like Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome in the OHL finals. Has the potential to become a second-line winger at best, or a third-line checker that can chip in offensively.

    At six foot three and 215 pounds, he looks like another of Babcocks favourite players.

  • Gary Empey

    The Leafs will not be getting rid of Jared Cowen. He is Babcock’s type of strong, defensive, player. Plays the penalty kill. Only just turned 25. He will be likely paired with a more offensive defenceman. He already knows how to play good positional hockey. Ottawa has always been disappointed in him because he never became an offensive stud. They were wrong to expect him to be. What the Leaf’s lost in offense they more than gained in defense and youth.

    Unless there are any underlying lifestyle issues Cowen is a good fit for the rebuilding Leafs.

    The salary cap BS is not the main focus of this trade.

      • Gary Empey

        Then I must be out of my mind. Chicago and Tampa are up against the cap, not the Leafs, Toronto always knew they could move Phaneuf, this year or next. Sure Toronto received some cap benefit. The major focus of this trade? Phaneuf was getting too old to be a major part of a rebuilding team. I also think Babcock sees Cowen with Corrado in his future plans.
        Tobias Lindberg and the second round pick are pure bonus.

      • TGT23

        I’m 100% certain you are both equally right and wrong.

        The cap space is a big part of this. And, just as big is the lack of salary retention which is huge. But, perhaps equally as important was getting some kind of return for the asset. The new regime have shown tremendous patience with assets making sure they can get the most possible in return.

        Which is probably why Dion, Bozak, Lupul, etc. weren’t traded in the summer.

        A chance to build up someone like Cowen, who can still maybe find a niche in the league (especially under Babs), a prospect who could actually end up being pretty good alongside other very good prospects, and a valuable draft pick…those are important to the deal for Toronto. Possibly just as important as the cap room.

        If it was all about the cap room they could have gotten Dion out a long, long time ago.

        • Kanuunankuula

          Cowen was never anything but a salary dump. If we can pump & dump him, bonus. His buyout is not terrible either. I can guarantee this was the reason he was accepted into this deal.

          Look, if he’s the terrible defenceman on the SENATORS, he really is terrible.

  • TGT23

    I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE IT… HOLY F***ING S**T!!!!!!! NO SALARY RETAINED!!?!??!?! but they retained salary on kessel/!?! rookie moves were on display pre and post legendary lou!! next, he’ll ltir lupul and make some other huge moves!! what an exciting time to be a leafs fan!! absolutely NO ONE saw this coming!!!