If I’m Darryl Sutter, the next phone call I make is to Florida GM Jacques Martin. Knowing the Panthers are in a bad situation for having not made the playoffs or dealt outgoing free agent Jay Bouwmeester, Martin will be eager to listen.
Here’s the deal I’d pitch. Dion Phaneuf to the Panthers for a sign-and-trade Bouwmeester and first-round pick. It makes sense for all parties in a multitude of ways. It’s a certainty Bouwmeester wants to move on from Florida to test the free agent market, so getting a heralded defenceman like Phaneuf to materialize out of a lose-lose scenario will make Martin look brilliant.
He’d have to give up Florida’s first-rounder (14th overall), but that’s a small tradeoff to get Phaneuf.
So why would the Flames make such a deal to aid the Panthers? Because it would also benefit the Flames.
Anyone who has watched the Flames knows Phaneuf’s game has deteriorated badly.
He doesn’t work hard enough defensively, coasting into corners and standing around too much with one hand on his stick, and he’s become beatable one-on-one. His long outlook passes are so telegraphed they never work anymore.
Phaneuf will make $6.5 million each of the next five seasons. Unless he makes serious improvements, that’ll be a contract no one wants.
If the rest of the league doesn’t know about Phaneuf’s struggles, they’re learning.
Now’s the time to trade him before his market value does a Bryan McCabe.