Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis intends to sign Dion Phaneuf to new deal but ‘it has to be the right number’

Speaking with Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Thursday morning, Nonis praised Phaneuf for a growth in leadership ability, as well as for logging hard minutes on the blue line. The 28-year-old is logging a team-high average of 24 minutes 17 seconds of ice time a night.

“You look at how many minutes he plays every night; he plays against the other team’s top players,” Nonis told the station. “He doesn’t complain about how he’s used. I think, at the end of the day, we’re going to try to get Dion signed. Whether or not that comes to fruition, you never know. But it’s our intention to get him signed.”

The contract — as Nonis has said before — will have to fit within certain parameters.

“It has to be the right number, it has to fit for us so we can continue to build our team,” he told The Fan. “So whether it’s next week or March 1, it doesn’t make a difference to me.”

Phaneuf is in the final year of a six-year contract worth US$39-million. His cap hit is already more than double that of the next defenceman down the chart (Carl Gunnarsson, US$3.15-million). He is also the second major contract issue the Leafs need to resolve.

45 Responses to Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis intends to sign Dion Phaneuf to new deal but ‘it has to be the right number’

  1. lafleur10 says:

    7 7.5 million a year for phaneuf for 6 years

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      No thanks at those numbers and term combined.
      Plus, I can’t be the only one that has noticed Dion’s paly has dropped off some the past 5-6 games. He has still been good, but not as good as the first 15 games. he looks gassed at times and the giveaways have been higher and he is losing more puck battles than previously.

      • lafleur10 says:

        that’s the numbers it will take to sign him i doubt he’ll take less….. it be interesting to watch this and see how it all unfolds if he hasn’t signes by the trade line which i believe is march 5th the leafs will deal him

      • mojo19 says:

        He has been struggling a bit lately.

        Honestly, I would offer him to keep his same salary x 6 years, and if he wants to get greedy, and wants to see if he can get $7.5 or more on the open market, I say, see ya later Dion. We can use the money to target a UFA like Stastny. Maybe trade Bozak for a dman of some kind and revamp the team that way in the offseason.

        • mapleleafsfan says:

          He was great against Ovi last night, but his game has been off a bit compared to his hot start. Gunnarson was a beast last night too. He was really giving it to Ovi the whole night. He’s surprisingly got some good aggression to him.

    • LN91 says:

      Is Subban make $9 million then?

  2. hockeyfan8 says:

    7 million on a 5 year term is what I’m seeing….. Not sure if I agree with this deal or not….

  3. 93killer93 says:

    As much as I want to keep Phaneuf, if we can get a package around Edmonton’s first and draft Ekbald, I’d go for it.

    Phaneuf, Fraser
    Hemsky, Schultz, 1st

    Liles, Holzer
    Gilbert, Whitney

    Talbot, 2nd

    Hemsky, 2nd(Col)
    1st, 3rd




    Edm-Aaron Ekblad
    NyR & Tor (trade up)-Brendan Perlini (Verhaeghe’s Linemate)

  4. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Phaneuf is going to resign and everyone will whine about the contract day in, day out for it’s duration.

    • Gambo says:

      Yup. And if he doesn’t resign everyone will develop some erotic fantasy of resigning the next top 4 UFA defenseman to a 7 year, 56 million dollar deal.

      • blaze says:

        Oh ya if Dion walks ( I surely hope not, Nonis is just saying what he has to ) who’s the early front runner for Leafs D whipping boy.

        The lack of leadership on the back end will be painfully obvious if Dion leaves, Carl Gunnarson will be the leader and best overall of the group…..

  5. doorman says:

    Gambo has exactly hit the nail on the head. Here is the way i see(not that it matters, lol). It is gonna take 7mil to sign Dion and i have just accepted that. Will he be over paid, yes they all are. Will the term be too long, probably, but hey the all are really. The simple fact is there is no real replacement readily available for him. i do not want a stop gap fix either. And while he is not a top 5 dman, he is a first pairing guy and #1 dman on most teams in the league.

    • LN91 says:

      How many are overpaid through? The teams grasping at straws for legitimate D-Men overpay their players. Ask Philly.

      • doorman says:

        IMO, tons of if not all UFA’s are overpaid. Just to be clear, i am not for trading him, well unless the deal is right, because as i have said before I would trade anyone in the right deal. His contract will be hated, but i do not believe his teammates dislike him.

        • LN91 says:

          But he’s not a UFA yet, and most players who actually who want to win cap-friendly hits.

          Chara, Datsyuk, Sedins, etc. are a few recent contracts. Each of these could have easily got more then then 8 million on a 3 year contract, but they did not.

          Phaneuf’s market value is probably 7 million (maybe that’s a bit steep in itself) so he should do what the others did and knock his salary down to ‘real’ value.

          • doorman says:

            While he is not a UFA yet is true, isn’t it semantics really? It’s the last year of his contract and negotiations will be treated like he is UFA. I am not saying i don’t think he should take a cap friendly deal, i think he should. But will he and if he doesn’t and you let him walk, who replaces him? As for Subban. He will get paid for sure, time will tell just how much.

  6. LN91 says:

    Great point by Mike Augello, something everyone could agree with:

    “He logs the most minutes and draws the most difficult matchups on a nightly basis and is clearly a top pairing NHL defenseman, but he is not the same player who scored 54 goals in his first three seasons before signing a six-year, $39 Million contract extension with Calgary. That contract was the main reason why the former Norris Trophy finalist was traded to Toronto in January 2010.”

    • LN91 says:

      This is regarding Phaneuf.

      This will be interesting as:

      – 72% of voters believed Dion should be traded at the deadline, suggesting the guy is not very well-liked in T.O. However, this is subjective as we do not know what the front office is thinking.

      – Is Nonis playing the ‘Burke’ card? According to Bill Waters, Nonis has been saying they want to re-sign Dion as a trading tool to increase his value to other teams. Apparently, it was very well evident that Dion was available at the draft, with no team paying the price to get him. Bill Waters might no be the greatest soucre, as he views Phaneuf as highly as Aki Berg, but I don’t think it’s completely impossible.

      I think it will be interesting, as I don’t think 100% Dion will be signed by the Leafs as opposed to Kessel, but we will soon find out.

  7. leafy says:

    If a big huge blockbuster trade happens, which I’m always hoping for, I can envision Phaneuf the center piece and the Leafs getting back a center.

    I hope there’s a huge deal brewing. The bigger, the better.

    • Not many good #1 C’s are available. If you end up parting with Phaneuf, just to sign another #2 C, I don’t really see the logic, unless that #2C is coming cheap and will hopefully be a guy who can take that next step to play first line minutes.

      Pavelski is a guy they could really use. He’s not playing a #1C role with the sharks, but there’s no way the sharks give him up for Phaneuf and small pieces.

  8. blaze says:

    Looks like a fair amount of votes off the island for Dion. It’s pretty easy to say yep get rid of the bum but what does the reality look like??

    Without any additions simply using the cap space to re-sign others we see something like this, their current this season ice time in brackets.

    D1: Gunnarson (19:59) – Franson (21:20)
    Expected to play ~22 minutes a night

    D2: Gardiner (20:06) – Ranger (19:03)
    Expected to play ~20 minutes a night

    D3: Reilly (17:16) – Fraser (13:49)
    Expected to play ~18 minutes a night

    Every single Dman gets more exposed, and takes on defensive responsibility. Overall a very green and young group.

    • LN91 says:

      Well, it’s not like any D-Men is playing well tonight.

      Also, I do not think its a short-term solution, I think Nonis is looking long-term here…And he needs to.

      • blaze says:

        See that’s where we disagree I think Dion is a long term solution. The rebuild is over this team is ready to start winning now.

        A missed playoffs this season or next is detrimental long term not vice verca.

        • LN91 says:

          Yeah, but he’s also asking himself “Can I win with Dion in a couple of years?” Why a couple of years? Because it’s when the Leafs will probably be at their best.

          • blaze says:

            I agree, I absolutely want the franchise to think long term.

            I’ll take your question and offer the inverse; can you win without Dion in the next couple of years?

            He’s 28 and has gotten better each year in Toronto. You could name endless amounts of mediocre, good and great defensemen that all have their best years between the age of 28 and 33 and beyond.

            Would you not say Chara’s Boston years were not his best overall? Or Nick Lidstrom winning 3 straight Norris trophies at the age of 31,32,33?

            Dan Boyle’s best years were all in his 30’s and he is still an integral part of a Cup contending team at 37 making 6.7mil.

            It’s a young inexperienced D-core with even younger talented Dmen coming up the pipeline. No one in the system has the same style skillset. The next 5 years are a perfect fit and no brainer IMO. All this talk from Nonis is simply posturing.

            Give him 5-6 years at his current rate; win-win, Dion stays and doesn’t lose face and Nonis doesn’t enrage the mob by ‘overpaying’.

    • mojo19 says:

      Those are nice numbers, but Rielly and Gardiner are both young, big upside. Gunnar, Franson, and Fraser are all still relatively young, for NHL dmen they’re really just coming into their primes.

      So I don’t think its so unrealistic to expect more minutes out of all of them. Of course, your overall point still stands, there will be mistakes which add up, we can’t expect everyone to take this big leap all at once. But I think take out Ranger and add a couple veterans to help bridge us to where we need to be with Gardiner and Rielly’s development, and we’re in good shape.

      Bring in Gleason and see how he does, then maybe add a reliable vet in the offseason and let Dion walk. I’m not totally against Dion, but I’m prepared for life without him.

      • blaze says:

        If Dion left a veteran shut down guy becomes critical. The thing about matching up against the Ovechkin, Crosby and Tavares of the world is they play 22-25 minutes a night. So naturally Phaneuf plays 25 minutes a night.

        If you get a traditional true shut down D you likely won’t see the same amount of minutes out of whoever takes over said role. More importantly you don’t get the offense. Say what you will about Dion but hes deadly when he jumps into the rush. The fact he still provides solid production in his role is impressive IMO.

        Toss in he’s the lead Dman PKer on a great kill and first unit PP on a lethal PP just seal it for me. Very tough to replace all that even by commitee.

        • mojo19 says:

          Your point is valid. It’s all about managing the cap space. This Dion contract (or the decision to not sign one) will be so crucial for our future.

          • realistic_leafs_fan says:

            Blaze makes a lot of good points, but they are a bit bias toward Phaneuf’s favour. Not a knock on Blaze or Dion because Dion is our best D, but typically no forwards play 25 mins a night. Rarely even 23 mins. On average, only about 10-15 forwards a season log more than 21 mins per game and at least half of those would be from the Western Conference, so that leaves 5-7 forwards from the East that play over 21 mins a night. Most teams have about 3 d-men that average over 21 mins a night and many who play ove 21 mins a nigh can play a shut-down role. Also there is no way, especially on the road, a d-man can play every second against the other teams top forward. A good shut-down guy that can play 21-22 mins a night is more than adequate against top forwards. It’s how good the rest of the d-core is that will make the difference. One guy, even as good as Dion can play, cannot do it alone.
            Of comparisons to how good Dion will still be as he gets older in order to justify him being a key future player, it’s Chara, Boyle and Lidstrom as noted comparables. Well, Chara is one of a kind, there never has been anyone like him and no one looking close to it now. Boyle and Lidstrom are/were smooth skating not overly physical guys…they play a different style than Dion. Dion is more in the Kromwall, Bieksa, Seabrook, Beauchemin, etc style of D-man. They play physical and can add some offence, but log a lot of minutes playing physically against the other teams top forwards. They have a lot more wear and tear on their bodies and are not necessarily great skaters. This has to be a factor when talking term and dollars. Will Dion be logging 25 mins a night at 34,35 or 36 years old like a Boyle, Lidstrom, etc can because of their style of play and skating ability? Will he likely be on the first PP unit? Will he be able to keep up with the other teams top forwards at those ages? Will he still be as effective?
            Give him $50 mil over 7 years and the first 3-4 seasons may seem slightly overpaid and the last 3-4 may start to seem like an albatross contract.
            I have no doubt Nonis wants to re-sign him, but the right number to him is not 7 years $50 mil…or it would have been done by now. I would think if it’s 7 years, Nonis is thinking more around $5.7(give or take a bit) per season, so that he can mange the later years of the contract.

            • blaze says:

              Ovechkin played 25 minutes the other night.

              • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                I said “typically” and “on average” so I’m not sure what point you are trying to make Blaze. Are you suggesting every time a team plays the Leafs, their star will play close to 25 mins?
                Dion CAN play 25+mins a night if that’s your point, but it’s not when he is most effective, so not only does he not need to, he shouldn’t. Typically
                when Dion plays under 24 mins a night he is a + player and more than half his points are scored when he plays less than 24 mins a night. When over used, he wears down. It’s not a knock, but it’s still true nonetheless.

  9. LN91 says:

    So, the Leafs got smoked 6-0 by an AHL/OHL team tonight while showing completely no effort. I actually think this team misses Komarov.

    3/4 next games are against Pitt, Montreal, and San Jose. Not to mention the team likes to throw away easy points with the 1 game against Buffalo.

    Be scared Leaf fans.

  10. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Lose to a bad team then beat a good, that’s been the Leafs for years.

  11. leafy says:

    After all my preaching about Reimer baby, then this fiasco.

    But this blowout was the best thing that could have happened. Major wake up call.

    Personally I’d sack Carlyle. The talented group of forwards need a fresh perspective.

    • mojo19 says:

      Randy Carlyle has been doing a great job. I don’t agree with the small contingent calling for his head.

      Who are we replacing him with? Ever since Carlyle got here the Leafs have just been winning. He plays a tough brand of hockey, and we just added Bolland and Clarkson as our big offseason additions to specifically suit Carlyle’s style of hockey, especially for the playoffs.

  12. Gambo says:

    It’s too bad the Leafs are so tight up against the cap, i’d love for them to take Klesla on waivers. Big shutdown defenseman who’s been around for a while.

  13. mojo19 says:

    Yes Gambo I specifically just came on here to comment on Klesla.

    $2.9 mil, expiring deal. He’s been a beast. Must be a situation in Phoenix where he’s too pricey for a #5 dman.

    We should have enough cap relief with Bolland on IR.
    I’d love to add Klesla and Gleason. Bam! Revamped blueline. Send down Fraser and/or Ranger.


    That’s a good looking 7 for a deep playoff run.

  14. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Shutdown defensemen still exist? I thought they were called bad contracts.

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