Before stepping on the ice at The Big House, Dion Phaneuf hit The Big Payday.
As expected, the Maple Leafs captain has inked a new seven-year deal believed to be in the $49 million range.
“Dion is our team leader and has been a pillar in our building process,” general manager Dave Nonis said in a 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.”
Phaneuf welcomed the opportunity to stay with the Leafs well into his mid-30s.
“This is a very proud day for me and my family,” said Phaneuf. “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.”
Phaneuf, 28, has played 39 games for the Maple Leafs this season, registering 15 points (4 goals, 11 assists) with 50 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-3, 214-pound defenceman leads the team in plus/minus (+13) and average ice-time per game (24:21), is second in hits (102) and blocked shots (76), and third in penalty minutes. He was also invited to Team Canada’s orientation camp for the 2014 Winter Olympics in August.
Among all NHL defencemen over the last three seasons (2011-12 to present), Phaneuf ranks second in penalty minutes (tie-207), seventh in games played (tie-169) and goals (tie-25), eighth in power play goals (tie-10), 15th in points (87) and 17th in assists (tie-62).
Since his NHL debut in 2005-06, only nine other NHL defencemen have more goals per game than Phaneuf’s 0.172.
He also ranks 20th in points per game (0.556) among defencemen in that span, one spot behind Boston’s Zdeno Chara (0.573) and just ahead of Nashville’s Shea Weber (0.554).
With Phaneuf in the lineup, the Maple Leafs have posted a record of 125-104-32.