Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Five

On Friday, former assistant GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs was on Oilers Now discussing a rumour that the Oil have interest in Dion Phaneuf, when he apparently chose to not mince words about the Maple Leafs captain.

“Dion Phaneuf should be dispatched as soon as they possibly can and the story I hear is that Edmonton’s interested and if they are tell [general manager Craig MacTavish] to take him and have fun with him. I find him to be the most overrated, undernourished hockey player in the history of the NHL and whoever made him the captain of the Maple Leafs should have been fired six years ago.”

Under…nourished? Is Phaneuf really skinny, did I miss something?

I live in Toronto, and I’m pretty consistently blown away by what a polarizing player Phaneuf is. He’s a 28-year old 6’3″ 215-pound d-man who logs a lot of minutes against tough competition and was on pace for a 48-point year last season, according to this article by Jonathan Willis. He makes a healthy paycheck and probably earns a few more nickels than he should at $6.5M, but he isn’t grossly overpaid when you consider that he’d probably get that or more on the open market.

Yet because he’s perceived as a dick – and make no mistake, that is the general perception – some people think he’s the biggest plug in the league. In fact, calling him “overrated” at this point is like calling Patrice Bergeron “underrated.” The pendulum has swung so far counter to old perception that the two might want two switch labels (not a knock on Patrice, there’s just no denying everyone everywhere slobbers over the guy).

I have no idea if the Leafs are trying to trade Phaneuf or not, and I have no idea if the Oilers want him, but I do know that Watters’ comments on Phaneuf are borderline-kind compared to what the general public says about this guy. I’m not sure how we got here (maybe he’s a part-time baby-puncher?), but it sure feels like Phaneuf the Player gets a tough rap thanks to Phaneuf the Dude.

Comments (39)

  1. Bergeron is the new Datsyuk… got so much press about how criminally underrated they are that they are now rated appropriately, if not overrated by some. Don’t get me wrong, both are phenomenal players.

    The Phaneuf image reminds me of Luongo to some extent… both above-average players at their position who are paid like the very best despite falling just short of that mark. They are killed for their contracts and perceived shortcomings, not for their actual performance or genuine worth.

  2. “He’s a 28-year old 6’3″ 215-pound d-man who logs a lot of minutes against tough competition”

    Is that because the Leafs had the right players and he was the best of them or because they had no one else so he was the best of the worst? Big difference there especially for $6m+

    • Well they finished 5th in the conference, so you tell me?

      • As most things that are more grey than black and white I believe it is a bit of both. If he had the hockey IQ to match his skill level he would be worth every dime. I could care less if he is a “dick” to the media.

    • The other Leafs defenceman capable of playing against the quality of competition Dion played against, Carl Gunnarsson, battled a hip injury all season, and the two were rarely used together.

      Dion spent most of the year playing with either 27 year old MIke Kostka, who did okay but should never have been given the 30 minutes a night he was getting, or 25 year old Korbinian Hozler, who was woefully out of his depth.

    • Yes, Phaneuf plays a lot of minutes. He plays a lot of minutes watching opposing forwards in front of Reimer while doing nothing about it…he plays a lot of minutes pinching in the other team’s zone while getting caught out of position…..he plays a lot of minutes being a sh*t d-man…..

  3. Most detractors would not accept that he’s a part-time baby puncher. They would insist that its full-time.

  4. Pretty funny coming from Watters who has been living off that former assistant GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs for years! He’s a loud mouth windbag with no contacts inside the Leafs anymore. He was canned from 640 because his ratings were trash just like his opinion. Dion has faults sure but Watters “assessment” is terrible just like his former show. Please Edmonton will you take Watters instead? Useless hack.

  5. I don’t necessarily like what little I’ve seen of Phaneuf’s personality – dick sounds about right – but I do respect him as a player. He does lose some gambles, makes some mistakes but he hasn’t mailed in a minute on the Leaf’s blueline yet. If Nonis/Carlyle dump him, well, it’ll be a bit like dumping Grabovski.

    It appears we went from one opinionated blowhard in Burke to another in Carlyle. However Burkie did stock the shelves pretty well for Nonis so maybe I’m all wet…

    • Maybe Bill Watters is getting a little “Shakey” in his old age?

    • Buddah hat, have you even met him? From the events I’ve seen Dion at he’s been nothing but exceptional. He’s always great with the kids too as they all run to him for autographs. YOU don’t know him. YOU’VE never met him so how can you come out with a horses arrse opinion like that? I wish I can take a monster truck and run over everyone in this fanbase because you’re all brainless dweebs. Here we have a hulking big minute crunching SOLID DEFENSEMEN on the team coming off a good year and people are unhappy. Buddah hat please do everyone a favor and stick your head in the ground where it belongs.

      • Amazing! That’s so cool that he actually shows up to team events to which he is contractually required to show up and then doesn’t punch the kids while he’s there! What a guy!

        Yup, anyone who disagrees with you must have never met the man. Clearly you know his soul after seeing him smile at children for thirty second snippets at team-sponsored, attendance-required events.

        Are you the guy’s agent or something?

        • Well from what I can see, I know him a heck of a lot better than most of the morons posting in here. I’ve met him at a ton of social functions over the years and never heard one person say a bad thing about him. Ok so he’s supposed to be at these events. So what. You’d rather ASSUME he’s a dick just to support your views? Ok buddy whatever you say. When Dion re-signs next summer do me a favor and fill up a glass with your tears. I’m sure its delicious.

  6. Dions numbers, boxscore and fancy, were incredible this year.

    Also, if you want some pretty offensive numbers on Dion, Since 2005 (his first season in the NHL):

    #2 in the league for goals scored.
    #2 in powerplay goals.
    #7 in points.

    He is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the very best players in world at his position. You can’t replace players like Dion. If you want to win a trade, you get the best player in the deal. There’s only a handful of players you could trade Dion for and get the best player back in the deal.

    • I would be interested in who it is you consider worthy? Do tell.

      • Are you testing me? Oh heavens, I hope that I pass!

        I really feel what you say is importzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Well from what I can see, I know him a heck of a lot better than most of the morons posting in here. I’ve met him at a ton of social functions over the years and never heard one person say a bad thing about him. Ok so he’s supposed to be at these events. So what. You’d rather ASSUME he’s a dick just to support your views? Ok buddy whatever you say. When Dion re-signs next summer do me a favor and fill up a glass with your tears. I’m sure its delicious.

  7. Let me preface this by saying I’m a HUGE Phaneuf hater from his days in Calgary, (especially since he shot a puck at a helmet less Tim Thomas’ head).

    But since when does Bill Watters’ opinions matter? Man these must be the dog days of summer.

  8. Phaneuf is a decent player, but he is a terrible captain! he cannot lead by example, he chokes under pressure, and has the passion of a struck match when they depend on him. Most important, i dont think the younger leafs look up to him at all the way they should look up to their captain. He falls way short in that role. But how do you keep a player like that after you give the C to someone else?? (LUPUL!!!!) The leafs made their bed, no choice but to trade, especially since he is in the way of young talent being signed.

    • Not saying I disagree with your sentiment, but this is the stupidest fucking comment I’ve ever read. You’re basing your entire argument on narratives you invented in your head.

  9. Most of the team went to his wedding. Not so much for Grabovski. So, who says he’s a dick?

    • A dick is more likely to hold your absence from his wedding against you than a Belarussian. That and Phaneuf’s wedding had a shot at being hunting ground for Hollywood poonta… er personalities.

  10. 6’3 215? Then why was he so afraid of Lucic?

    • Cause Lucic is still bigger and Phaneuf is far more important to his team than is Milan. A negative trade for Toronto just as it is for Boston whenever Chara fights.

  11. Wow folks! “Dog days of summer” is right. Numbers don’t tell the whole story, despite his statistics since 2005. I don’t think Phaneuf is worthy of the captaincy here in Toronto (that’s just my opinion, and I’m sure it’s shared amongst many others). When you think of Leaf captains you think of Sundin, Gilmour, Clark, Sittler etc… But Phaneuf?!? Come’on! He doesn’t even fit the bill! And for $6.5 million, he should be playing well above whatever his current stats are; not to mention the intangibles that he doesn’t present on or off the ice. What the numbers don’t show is the amount of ill advised decisions he’s repeatedly made over the course of this season and the previous (ie: pinching to keep the puck in the offensive zone only to get burned, causing a two or three on one the other way for a goal). Lest we forget the awful missed checked he attempted when he took out one of his own players against the Bruins in the playoffs this year. Oh and breaking his teammates bones with a slap shot… I mean? I could go on, but I think that’s sufficient. It’s these kinds of (bone-headed) plays that have earned him the bad rep.
    I don’t pay attention to what others (ie: Bill Watters) have to say about him because I’ve been watching Phaneuf play enough to form my own opinion. Past that, I don’t know the guy personally to pass any judgment on that front, but there’s no denying he’s a) not a captain and b) that he should DEFINITELY be traded. I don’t know where all these high praises come from!? #overrated #thatsenoughofphaneuf

    • Boneheaded players are excusable if you make some good players to match, right? If you give up a goal, save a goal and call it even. Phaneuf does a lot of little things that add up. If nothing else, it’s stuff that the other Leafs D can’t do.

    • Take your head out of your arrse. Nothing I dislike more than ignorant leaf fans and you are a perfect example. I don’t even want to take the time to prove how stupid your post is but Dion had a solid year last season. No he’s not a #1 defensemen but he’s the best dmen we got and statistically was one of the better dmen last season. When Dion is gone and we don’t have a big mobile minute crunching dmen back there you’ll start calling for nonis’ head. Just like when Mats left. Everyone couldn’t wait to kick him to the curb and then people began to realize #1 centers aren’t going to fall into this teams lap. If Dion takes a lower cap hit I’d love it if re-signs. This fanbase is an embarrassment and YOU are an embarrassment “MN”

      • “No, he’s not a #1 defenseman.”

        Perhaps you’re finally getting the point? Nahh

        • So because he’s not a #1 dmen, you want to run him out? Mind telling me where you expect the Leafs to find a #1 dmen? Someone like Weber, Suter, Chara, etc? Instead of dealing phaneuf, how about getting another minute crunching defensemen. Someone like a Regehr would have been perfect or Scuderi. You just don’t deal guys for the hell of it. I can tell you’re on the ‘hate phaneuf’ team but maybe you should open your eyes. I’m not going to post the numbers because you can look them up but he was one of the better defensemen in the league last season. He needs help back there. Gunnarrson is good but not a top 4dmen.

  12. He reportedly banged Craig Conroy’s wife. Conroy is the nicest guy on the planet, it’s the equivelant to wiping your ass with Mr. Rogers sweater. Dude is a huge D bag, all these reports since his rookie season of being a dick can’t all be fake.
    The Leafs picked him up for a very little because of this, not because the Flames like getting their nuts fed to them in trades.
    He is a skilled hockey player, with low hockey IQ and is very bad a playing defense much of the time in my opinion. I think any team in the league except Calgary would take him at a more reasonable salary, even after having said all this.
    Multiple reports of him being a dick in the dressing room can’t all be fabricated either, so to that end, would not ever be my choice as captain.

    • Howedy, Craig Conroy came out last season and said he and Dion were friends and he enjoyed playing with him. In fact, he couldn’t stop gushing over him in the interview. You’re another leafs fan that couldn’t tell me the difference between a pogo stick and a hockey puck. Here’s a fact for you: Dion IS a top 4 defensemen that can play on the top pairing. Nothing you say will change that you coward. If theres one thing I dislike more than hab/sen fans, its the morons in this fanbase and you’re another example Howedy.

      • Wow, a top-4 defenseman for ONLY $6.5M a year? It’s the deal of the century!

        Thank you for proving the point everyone else was trying to make and you were trying to deflect by hurling insults, half-truths, and pure silliness.

        • His deal ends this year and we’ll see how much he gets. The Leafs played him like a #1 yeah he’s going to ask for the same amount or maybe more in the summer. I just don’t agree with everyone trying to run him out of town when he plays the hardest minutes on the team and does a fine job. Are you going to ignore his excellent season or his play in against boston? Leafs aren’t going to find a suter or chara through free agency so what do you suggest?

          And Howedy, sorry I called you a leafs fan. I just can’t stand this fanbase always looking for a scapegoat. They did it to McCabe. mats, and now its dions turn. Wonder whos next. Maybe Kulemin because he isn’t Canadian. Hows that sound Ben?

      • 1. I hate the Leafs
        2. What Ben said
        3. Calm down
        4. Cheer up

  13. Heh, Bill Watters.

    He sure does chirp. I guess that is entertaining.

  14. It’s f*cking hilarious that after I post a backed up, legit post on Dion being a top 5 defenseman in the league, people are still trying to say he’s barely a top 4 center.

    Problem with Leaf fans is that they aren’t hockey fans and don’t watch hockey. Chara is being run out of town right now by the fans in Boston. Chara.

    Thankless position that doesn’t allow for people that don’t understand hockey to see what he does. He’s a 1A defenceman on the majority of the teams in the NHL right now.

  15. OH! and his salary? He’s going to make between 6 and 6.5 million on his contract re-up. That’s what players with his stats at his position get.

  16. The Toronto Maple Leafs management should get together and put a new captain before the start of the new season,they.They will never get any where this captain he is to of favorite to the coach.The fans have been suffering enough.

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