It is looking more like Dion Phaneuf is going to be with Toronto Maple Leafs for a very long time as Darren Dreger of TSN reported the defenseman is close to signing a long-term extension. According to Dreger, some details need finalizing, but the deal is expected to be for seven years with an annual average of $7 million.
Aside from a couple of details, Phaneuf and the Leafs are very close on a 7 year, $7 mil per contract extension. Term was key. #tsn— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 28, 2013
Phaneuf, who joined the Leafs via trade with the Calgary Flames in the 2009-10 season, is Toronto's captain and top defenseman. He has delivered at both ends of the ice, providing some solid production from the blue line and playing an aggressive, physical game defensively. At 28, he should still have plenty of good years left as well.
A seven-year, roughly $49 million deal would put Phaneuf between Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson as comparable total salaries. With the cap due to go up next year and continue going up, the Leafs will have more than enough money to spend. While the reported money attached to this deal seems a bit bloated, it's highly likely Phaneuf would be able to pull that type of deal down in free agency.
There's some risk as Phaneuf's defensive numbers have dropped in the Randy Carlyle era in Toronto, but the captain is still very clearly a big part of the Maple Leafs' present and future.
Phaneuf has 354 points in 638 NHL games.