Dion Phaneuf is now a 37-year-old former NHL defenseman who, in total, played 14 seasons. He was a large defenseman at 6-foot-4 and 222 pounds. He was selected by Calgary Flames in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
Phaneuf played parts of seven NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, coming to Toronto in a trade from the Flames during the 2009-10 season. He became a team captain young in his career. He was eventually traded from the Maple Leafs to the Ottawa Senators during the 2015-16 season.
Phaneuf was not the first of the Maple Leafs’ polarizing defensemen, and he will probably not be the last. Many fans appreciated his hard-hitting, physical style of play combined with his offensive abilities, his leadership, and his work ethic. However, others were critical of his performance, particularly during the team’s regular-season struggles to even put together a winning season.
As well, when the Maple Leafs inked a seven-year, $49 million contract with Phaneuf on Dec. 31, 2013, that added fuel to the fans’ ire.
Phaneuf’s Time with the Maple Leafs
Looking at a summary of the Maple Leafs’ regular-season records from the 2009-10 season to the 2015-16 season shows just how poorly the team played during his time with them. Forget the playoffs, even winning during the regular season was difficult.
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In fact, during Phaneuf’s time with the team, the Maple Leafs never made the postseason. Overall, the team struggled to play consistently good hockey. Its best season was during 2012-13, but that season was strike-shortened.
|NHL Season||Regular-Season Record||Point Total||Postseason Status|
|2009-2010||30-38-14||74 points||Missed Playoffs|
|2010-11||37-34-11||85 points||Missed Playoffs|
|2011-12||35-37-10||80 points||Missed Playoffs|
|57 points||Missed Playoffs|
|2013-14||38-36-8||84 points||Missed Playoffs|
|2014-15||30-44-8||68 points||Missed Playoffs|
|2015-16||29-42-11||69 points||Missed Playoffs|
During Phaneuf’s time with the Maple Leafs, some of his teammates on the team included Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak, Jake Gardiner, and James Reimer. Even Morgan Rielly was a young defenseman with the team when Phaneuf played.
Phaneuf Was Named Maple Leafs’ Youngest Captain in History
Phaneuf was a team leader, who was considered one of the best defensemen…