Earlier today, trade rumors swirled about Dion Phaneuf. Where would he go? Would it be to the Detroit Red Wings, if the Leafs retained salary? Would it be to Tampa Bay, for a certain stubborn yet talented winger? Looks like we were all wrong:

From the Ottawa Senators press release:

The Ottawa Senators announced today that the club has acquired defenceman Dion Phaneuf, forward Matt Frattin, forward Casey Bailey, forward Ryan Rupert and defence prospect Cody Donaghey from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenceman Jared Cowen, forwards Colin Greening, Milan Michalek and Tobias Lindberg as well as Ottawa’s second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. No salary will be retained by either team over the trade’s entirety.

Knee-Jerk Analysis (from JP Nikota)

This is a colossal win for the Leafs. Dion Phaneuf is still a serviceable hockey player but his contract was easily the most crippling thing they had on their books. With his contract gone, the Leafs have a lot of room to sign some other kind of big contract this summer.

The Leafs gave up very little in terms of prospects to make this happen, as Matt Frattin is at best a marginal NHLer, Casey Bailey is is probably less than that, and although Cody Donaghey still had some value as a prospect, he is a middling one at best.

In return, the Leafs are getting three salary dumps, a middling AHL prospect, and a 2nd round pick. They receive Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, and Milan Michalek, whose contracts all expire at the end of next season, and Tobias Lindberg, a prospect with some decent, if limited, potential. Add to this a second-round pick?

This is all great news for the Leafs, who will be able to take on short-term salary without too much trouble, especially since we can expect several of the Leafs' veterans to go before the deadline.

Here is the official Leafs' press release:

- Also, here's a good tweet about Cowen's likelihood of being bought out (glove tap to the_humourisironic in the comments):

- Here is a look at Milan Michalek's injury in a game against Philadelphia in December.

Phaneuf's career with the Leafs (from El Seldo)

Phaneuf had a semi-NMC that had 10 teams listed he would agree to go to, and it seems that Ottawa was on this list.

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 all 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:

This is a big move for the Leafs future. Also to note is how amazingly quiet the front office was in all of this. No rumours came out until less than 30 minutes before the trade happened. It's a tight ship now.

Who's next?

Sad tweet, as Phaneuf says goodbye.

Impact on the minors (from Acha)

The ripples from this trade reach as far down as the Solar Bears. This is actually the first time in many years that the Rupert twins will be in different organizations. Throuhgout most of their junior careers they played in London with the Knights, and were until now both in the Leafs' system, Ryan Rupert with the Marlies, and Matt Rupert with the Orlando Solar Bears.

New acquisition Lindberg is heading directly to the Toronto Marlies, who could dearly use the additional support right now with three men out of the lineup. You can read more about Lindberg in Scott's article, over here.

One speculated Marlies line is Lindberg-Nylander-Kapanen, with Bob McKenzie noting that Lindberg is a "big winger that could destroy the AHL."

Of Lindberg, Lou says, "He was one individual prospect we targeted... He'll be given every opportunity." Sounds like he's considered a major part of the Leafs' future, and it's exciting to see it all fall into place.

Who will be captain?

Toronto Maple Leafs @MapleLeafs "We'll have alternate captains throughout the year." - Lamoriello #TMLtalkMark your calendar

Phaneuf and The Senators will be at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday March 5th at 7:00PM. Expect a Habsesque pre-game ceremony.