Phaneuf's skates big ones to fill

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

Ian White’s job is not to replace Dion Phaneuf.

Not all on his own.

White’s arrival to Calgary was part of a package for Phaneuf, who was a Norris Trophy finalist and all-star a couple of seasons ago.

However, White will be in the crosshairs.

He is, after all, the lone defenceman to join the Flames in the seven-player swap, so they have a connection.

“I don’t personally feel I’m there to replace anyone. I have my own style of game. I play a certain style that I know how,” White said hours after the Sunday swap.

“But I have some attributes that can help the team. We’ll see where I fit in with that team.”

On the surface, White provides as much offence as Phaneuf. This season, the new Flame has nine goals and 26 points in 56 games, while Phaneuf compiled 10 goals and 22 points in 55 games before the swap.

Considering White is expected to also be a regular on the powerplay, he’ll have every chance to continue that trend.

“I don’t feel any extra pressure or any of that scrutiny,” he said. “We’ve been under the microscope here in Toronto for quite a few years, and I’ve dealt with the pressure of playing in a market like this.

“I’m just excited to have a chance to go there and help the team win.”

The downside to the trade for the new Flames is uprooting families and moving them across the country.

The upside, however, is a chance to make the playoffs. The way things are going this season, any Maple Leafs player will need a ticket to watch post-season action.

By no means are the Flames a slam dunk to make the playoffs, but they sit eighth heading into Monday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

“Hockey-wise, I’m excited. The season so far, obviously as a team it didn’t go as well as planned,” Hagman said. “Personally, I know I could have played better, but I’ve been somewhat satisfied how things have gone.”

What lines the new players will skate on remains to be seen, but Hagman is a good bet to play on a line with fellow Finn — and soon-to-be Olympic tournament teammate — Olli Jokinen. They were linemates for a few seasons in Florida.

“It was quite a few years ago. We were part of the fourth line,” Hagman said. “He managed to really break through in Florida. For me, it took a little longer.

“We played at the world championships, so definitely, there is something that we’ve played together, and I think we’ve played pretty well together.”

While the others are expected to provide offence, Mayers, who has played the most playoff games of the new Flames, adds grit, speed and penalty killing.

“That’s the type of player I am. I like to think that I can fit in. I’m sure they have an idea where they want to play me,” he said. “I’ll just come in and do whatever they ask of me, and whatever it takes to help us win.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos