Bob McKenzie, more importantly, the actual, real verified, Bob McKenzie tweeted out this juicy tidbit today:
Hearing lots of Dion Phaneuf trade chatter. Starting to think he could actually be dealt before the deadline.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 9, 2016
If this is true, and Bobo hasn't been one to sling rumours for follows or hits, it would be huge news for the Maple Leafs cap space in upcoming years. Right now Phaneuf's cap hit runs at $7,000,000 for the next six years, until he's 36. Having anyone on the cap until their 36 is iffy, and someone that age with a $7,000,000 hit is even worse.
His salary for the next few seasons are below, thanks to GeneralFanager.com
2015-2016 - $8,000,000
2016-2017 - $7,500,000
2017-2018 - $7,000,000
2018-2019 - $6,500,000
2019-2020 - $6,500,000
2020-2021 - $5,500,000
2018-2019 is a huge year for the Maple Leafs, as Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen, Auston Matthews, and others could all see their contracts come up for renewal if they al play in the NHL next year.
Phaneuf has been consistent with the Maple Leafs but seems to have possibly lost a step ever since a cut to his leg by a skate blade, as speculated by clrkaitken here.
Below are Phaneufs reguar season numbers over his career:
It's unlikely the Maple Leafs would get off completely cap free in this case, if Phanuef is moved it's likely they'd either take back a contract of similar salary from another team, or there would be salary retention. The Maple Leafs are currently retaining $200,000 of Carl Gunnarsson that ends this season, and $1.2 million for Phil Kessel for the next 7 years.
No potential landing sites have been mentioned for Dion, though Dreger tweeted this shortly after McKenzie:
Ottawa vets were asked about him recently. Lots of work being done there of late. https://t.co/id2Do1Dq8W— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 9, 2016
A trade sending Toronto's captain to Ottawa?
Speculate wildly in the comments!