Report: Maple Leafs shopping captain Dion Phaneuf

Thomas Drance

This past week Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis explicitly cited the trade market as an avenue that he's intent on exploring aggressively this offseason in an attempt to improve the team. While the Maple Leafs were reportedly "eager" to make an offseason deal that included one of defenseman Jake Gardiner or center Nazem Kadri; it appears they are also shopping bigger game.

Per Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos:

Phaneuf, who signed a 7-year, $49 million dollar contract extension with the Maple Leafs in late-December, is often maligned in the Toronto market for his defensive deficiencies. Kypreos also suggests that the Maple Leafs would likely need to retain some salary in a Phaneuf trade.

Looking at the bigger picture, however, this past season the Maple Leafs were outscored by 16 goals at five-on-five; but outscored their opponents by four goals (56 goals for, 52 goals against) with Phaneuf on the ice. In addition to leading the Maple Leafs in ice-time by a wide margin and facing some of the toughest matchups of any individual player in the league, Phaneuf also managed to score eight goals and contribute 31 points in 80 games. In short, Phaneuf remains a credible top-of-the-lineup defenseman