The Toronto Maple Leafs made it official on New Year’s Eve, announcing a seven-year contract extension for captain Dion Phaneuf worth $49 million ($7 million AAV). The deal will also include a modified no-trade clause that kicks in on July 1st, 2014 when the deal takes effect. While the exact number of teams that Dion Phaneuf will be able to block a trade to is unknown, it is believed to be in the double digits. The new contract had been speculated upon for days, with TSN’s Darren Dreger even reporting the exact terms of the deal over the weekend.
The Leafs have called a 1:30 pm press conference to discuss the deal.
“Dion is our team leader and has been a pillar in our building process,” said general manager Dave Nonis in a team statement. “He has proven to be a very durable and reliable defenceman in all facets of the game. He plays big minutes in every situation for us and we’re pleased to have him under contract for the next seven seasons.”
The deal comes on the eve of the much anticipated Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs to be played tomorrow at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“This is a very proud day for me and my family,” said Phaneuf in a statement. “I’m very honoured to be the captain of this historic franchise and to maintain the opportunity to play and represent the Toronto Maple Leafs for many years to come. We have passionate fans and a dedicated ownership group. I have great teammates and look forward to growing with them and achieving our goal of winning.”
The 28-year-old Phaneuf has 110 goals and 355 points in 639 career regular season games, with 851 penalty minutes. He’s played 261 games of those games with Toronto, scoring 35 goals and 127 points.
This season Phaneuf has four goals and 15 points, while being a +13 in 39 games for the Leafs. He is the rock of the Leafs defence playing far more minutes than any other defender, and being used in all situations.
Earlier this season the Leafs locked up Phil Kessel to an 8-year, $64 million deal. Coming on the heels of the contracts signed this summer by Tyler Bozak (5 years, $21 million) and David Clarkson (7-years, 36.75 million); as well as long term deals for Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk signed last season, Dave Nonis has locked up a good portion of the Leafs core going forward.
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