On Tuesday December 8, in Toronto’s 3-2 shootout win versus the New Jersey Devils, captain Dion Phaneuf played in his 400th game as a Toronto Maple Leaf. Love him or hate him you can’t deny that this is an impressive bench mark. Especially since many people thought he would be following Phil out the door this past summer.
Although he is still draws the ire of Leafs fans’ hate, Dion has had a sneakily effective season so far. Right now he’s fourth on the Leafs with 16 points and leads the team with 14 assists. The most noticeable change this year is how Babcock deploys him. While his shifts per game have increased from 28.5 last year to 31.5 this year, his ice time has dropped from 23:43 to 22:20. I love the fact that Babcock stresses shorter shifts at max efforts. After years of watching Kessel and Kadri dogging it for long shifts, this is a welcome change.
As a result of his play, Dion’s trade value hasn’t been higher since he had signed that ill-advised contract 7 years $49 million contract that won’t expire until 2021. But instead of looking at any future potential trades, I want to look back at the controversial trade that brought Dion to Toronto. Read more