With news of Dion Phaneuf possibly being shopped by the Maple Leafs after the addition of Brendan Shanahan to the Leafs front office, the Leafs appeared to be poised to trade their Captain Dion Phaneuf.
Phaneuf carries with him a massive cap hit of over $7 million until the 2021-22 season and question marks regarding his leadership abilities and locker room influence. Those questions still remain after numerous late-season collapses by the Maple Leafs under both Ron Wilson and Randy Carlyle.
One team though that could be poised to make a push for Phaneuf is the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers defence has always been questioned for years ever since the Oilers managed to get numerous top selections and taking offensive-minded forwards over defensive-conscious players.
The Nail Yakupov pick may go down as one of the worst in franchise history as the club elected not to take White City, Saskatchewan native Ryan Murray, Morgan Rielly, Jacob Trouba, or even Tomas Hertl. All of those picks were taken later in the draft. The Oilers may of missed the boat by not dealing that pick and receiving more assets in return—but I digress.
The match-up I feel is perfect for the Oilers and Leafs for a Phaneuf blockbuster. The Oilers are starved for top-level 25 minute per game defenseman, and Phaneuf may just be the ticket. With over $26 million in cap space, the Oilers could afford to add Phaneuf to the teams' defensive corps.
As for their roster, with Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, and Taylor Hall all signed long-term, as well as David Perron, Sam Gagner, and Boyd Gordon all signed for two more years, the Oilers have some pretty solid youngsters already on the forward group.
With Aaron Ekblad expected to go first or second overall, the likelihood of him falling to three is pretty unlikely for the Oilers. With that said, I expect them to pass on adding another skilled forward electing to fill their forward depth with more established NHL veterans to help guide the group of young Oilers.
Toronto is where I see a major league match for the Oilers. With Phaneuf's price tag, he's currently holding the cap struggled Leafs hostage with that massive contract—as is David Clarkson at $5.25 million, but I again digress.
The Leafs have something to offer the Oilers who could use the eighth overall pick to select a large-bodied forward, or that defenseman they've been searching for.
The deal that I can speculate (as a LEaf fan) that would be discussed would involve the Leafs dealing the eighth overall pick along with Phaneuf to the Oilers for defensive prospect Darnell Nurse and the third overall selection.
The Leafs would likely select between Sam Bennett and Michael Dal Colle, while the Oilers would likely select either Nick Ritchie, Jake Virtanen or Haydn Fleury, all of whom would fit in with the Oilers quite well.
It would breakdown as
Phaneuf/Reimer/8 for Sam Gagner/Viktor Fasth/3rd
I still feel the clubs match-up regardless of which way you slice it, its just a matter of personal preference on the trade front. Even as I was typing this, the list of options for trades are endless.
After the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup last night on a double-OT winning goal by Alec Martinez, the NHL offseason can officially begin. Its now only two short weeks and the NHL Draft will be here. We then can find out whether this speculation has any substance to it.