Despite the fact that he carries a pricey contract, the Senators are receiving some interest in defenseman Dion Phaneuf, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported in an appearance on TSN 1200 (audio link). He does note that at this time, no deal appears to be imminent and teams appear to be viewing him as a fallback option more than a top target at this time.
Phaneuf has three years remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $7MM, a rather prohibitive contract considering his offensive game and ice time have dipped with Ottawa this season. However, he can still play a top-four role while providing some physicality as well so he can still be a useful defender. That said, Dreger also acknowledged that the Senators would either have to retain on his contract and/or take a bad contract or two back in order to help facilitate a move. Phaneuf will also have some say as to whether or not he moves as he has a 12-team trade list.
More from Ottawa:
- Phaneuf isn’t the only blueliner that is drawing some attention. Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch reports that a few teams have called defenseman Cody Ceci. The pending RFA has had a quiet season offensively with just nine points in 42 games but he has still averaged nearly 23 minutes in playing time. He also has arbitration eligibility for the first time in his career. That should have him in line for a raise from the $3.35MM he’s making this season in salary (with a $2.8MM cap charge), something that the Sens may not be willing to give him.
- Also from Garrioch’s column, GM Pierre Dorion stated that owner Eugene Melnyk has not given him a directive to try to cut payroll. Although they’ve long been viewed as a lower-spending team, they are quietly within $1.5MM of the cap while spending more than $72MM in salary. Assuming they do wind up selling though, that will likely change by the time the trade deadline comes and goes.