Things got very interesting for the Toronto Maple Leafs yesterday. They traded for Los Angeles Kings goaltenderJonathan Bernier. As if that wasn't enough, rumors began to surface that Maple Leafs capitan Dion Phaneuf might be shopped by Toronto -- or at the very least available to any interested parties.
We've talked about this before. The Rangers are currently in the market for a minute-munching, hulking defenseman who has a booming shot from the point. Phaneuf is all of those things. This year he had nine goals and 19 assists for 28 points in 48 games. He was on pace (in a non-lockout shortened season) for 48 points.
He's clearly a guy who can help on the power play (16 of his points were on the power play this year) and he can eat tons of minutes (he averaged over 25 minutes a game in the regular season last year. He's still young (he's jus 28) and he can be really effective at shoring up the defensive corps.
The other side of the coin: He's also pretty expensive, coming in with a $6.5-million cap hit ($5.5-million salary). The good news? He's only got one more year on his contract. The bad news? If he has a successful season he'll be looking for a long term deal.
The assets needed to get to Phaneuf would be pretty substantial, even though he's on the final year of his deal. We've discussed in great detail that the Rangers don't need to be shedding depth for big names. Phaneuf would bring a lot of things to the table, but he would also take things away simply by coming on board.
I'm not sure the Rangers need to go down that path again. I have no doubt they're kicking tires, but some people (myself included) really feel that guys like John Moore, Michael Del Zotto and Ryan McDonagh can all carry offensive loads in this new system. Alain Vigneault loves offense, especially when it comes from his defenseman.
The Rangers don't need to shed assets for a guy like Paneuf, even if his play is tempting. The Rangers have a new coach who gets more offense out of his players. Maybe the Rangers should give those players a change to do just that.
Even if they're defensemen.