Leafs have emerged as clear winners of the Phaneuf trade (hahaha)

Calling out brutal articles in the Toronto Star is not the most challenging thing in the world, but this is just too bad to pass up.

"While time is usually needed to fairly assess any deal, it’s not too early to declare this one a decisive victory for the Leafs. The Flames got skunked in this lopsided transaction."

Really?  Let's run some numbers:

Leafs get:

Phaneuf = $25.5M contract over four seasons

Sjostrom = RFA

Aulie = ELC

Flames get:

Hagman = $6M contract over two seasons

White = 1 RFA season

Stajan = UFA

Mayers = UFA

The deal was essentially even in 2009-10 (the salary going in each direction matched up to within a couple hundred thousand) but it's totally lopsided after that.  Calgary took on $6M of Hagman's contract but got a discount on White's last RFA season (say $1M).  Toronto got the rest of Sjostrom's non-UFA years (say $1M discount) Aulie, a big D without much evidence of offensive ability (The Star says "his potential is almost as vast as his wing span" - I disagree).  And then Toronto took on the big huge Dion Phaneuf contract.  I believe Phaneuf has the 5th-highest cap hit among defensemen this season, and he's owed a ton of money in the future.

Let's say Dion Phaneuf is worth $5M per season, on average, over the next five seasons.  I'm skeptical that he's worth that much, but let's just say he is.  Hagman might be worth $4M over the life of his contract.  Calgary eats $2M of Hagman's contract - but Toronto eats $5.5M of Phaneuf's.  The odds of Aulie being underpaid by $3.5M over the next six years is quite low, but I suppose it's possible.

What does this all mean?  Unless Aulie turns out to be a solid top 4 D, the Leafs *lost* the deal.  Merely having a player under your control is meaningless.  With a salary cap, you need to consider contracts and opportunity costs.  Toronto could have signed, say, Zbynek Michalek or any of last season's other top free agent D for less money than they're paying for Phaneuf. 

Let's face it: Calgary signed Phaneuf to a bad contract and miraculously found a taker for it.  That probably counts as getting skunked.  But the Leafs skunked themselves too.

SB Nation Featured Video
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Arctic Ice Hockey

You must be a member of Arctic Ice Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Arctic Ice Hockey. You should read them.

Join Arctic Ice Hockey

You must be a member of Arctic Ice Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Arctic Ice Hockey. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.