After the trade that sent Dion Phaneuf to the Los Angeles Kings, analysts from around the hockey world weighed in on their thoughts of the trade. The deal also brought Nate Thompson from Ottawa in exchange for Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore. Here are the thoughts of some scribes around the league.
Zupke sees Los Angeles benefitting from a veteran defenseman with playoff experience:
Phaneuf fills a need as a top-four defenseman with leadership and experience. He plays more than 20 minutes per game, in all situations, and he helped Ottawa reach Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals last season. Phaneuf also turns 33 in April and is signed through 2020-21, but the Kings are banking on some immediate dividends.
Garrioch, like many others, looks at the financial ramification of the deal and how the rebuild is on in Ottawa.
Naturally, this is a huge deal for the Senators because they get Phaneuf’s cap hit off the books, though it does have to take Gaborik’s contract in return…This is the start of general manager Pierre Dorion’s promise to build the team back to respectability. The Senators had asked Phaneuf to waive his ‘no move’ clause in the summer so they could protect Marc Methot in the expansion draft, but couldn’t get the deal done. The move will give the Senators flexibility with the roster.
McGran also examines the financial aspect, indicating that the Sens may end up buying Gaborik’s deal in the end.
There is some cash savings, which is important for Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk: Phaneuf is due $18.5 million in actual salary in the three years after this one. Gaborik is due $10,825. The Senators have to pay 25 per cent of Phaneuf’s salary, or $4.6 million. So they’re up to $15.4 million, a savings of $3.1 million (plus another half million for the remainder of this year) when comparing Phaneuf to Gaborik.(They’ll save on Nate Thompson, but his ultimate replacement will probably come in around the same dollar value.) One thing that makes sense is a buyout. Gaborik would cost less than Phaneuf. A Robidas Island situation is not likely. The Senators aren’t likely to spend to the cap anyway.
Mendes sees this as the beginning of sell-offs, and echoes McGran in saying that a buyout of Gaborik’s contract is likely.
Based on owner Eugene Melnyk’s recent statement – in which he announced a three-year contract extension for Dorion – it now appears as though the club has a mandate to shed salary and put more of an emphasis on developing younger talent.
The Phaneuf deal is likely the first domino to fall, as the club will save north of $5 million in real dollars over the next few seasons. Those savings could increase if the club opts to buy out the contract of Marian Gaborik this summer, although it’s unclear which route they will take at this point. We could get our first clue later this week if the Senators make Gaborik a healthy scratch for their games against Buffalo and the Rangers.