Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts brought up one particular problem plaguing the Maple Leafs as of late, and no, it's not goaltending. (Although, well, that's mentioned, too.) It's penalties - and more specifically, it's Captain Dion Phaneuf's penalties.
14. If there’s one thing Mike Babcock needs to fix with Dion Phaneuf’s game, it’s penalties.
As of Tuesday morning, Phaneuf is tied with Dustin Byfuglien for the NHL lead in minors, with nine. Last season, he was fifth with 39. (Byfuglien led all defencemen with 42.) In 2013-14, his 47 led everyone, two more than David Perron.
One scout said last weekend that his organization declined to pursue a trade for Phaneuf for this very reason. Lowering that total would increase his value, probably to Toronto as much as anyone else.
Bolded emphasis mine, because that's the most interesting tidbit in this. In 2013-14 and 2014-15, Phaneuf eclipsed the 100-penalty minute mark, and he's on-pace to do just that again this year. (And he was on-pace to do it in the lockout 2013 season, as well. The season before, he had 92, so... moving on up?)
And it isn't just costing his team in terms of having to kill off those penalties on the ice - it looks like it's actually killing his trade value, too.
With Phaneuf, you know what you're getting: decent backend presence that can play big minutes, and also has leadership qualities and scoring abilities. It's not a bad deal (although the $7 million cap hit is probably a bit much).
That is, unless, he's never actually on the ice for your team, because he's sitting in the box, putting the opposition in good position to score. Yeah... it's easy to see why teams would shy away from that.