What to do with Maple Leafs' Dion Phaneuf?

Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf could be shipped out of Toronto this summer. (QMI Agency/Files)

Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf could be shipped out of Toronto this summer. (QMI Agency/Files)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:24 AM ET

TORONTO - Whether or not the Maple Leafs are shopping Dion Phaneuf or merely doing due diligence by listening to any offers, it has begun to look like a strained marriage. Whether it actually becomes estranged less than six months after the controversial captain signed what appeared to be a Leaf-for-life contract will play out this summer.

In a restless off-season in Hogtown where talk of big change instead saw Randy Carlyle’s return as coach, moving Phaneuf would give the people what they want. But general manager Dave Nonis is not going to give up on his $49-million man quite yet — at least without significant return.

Here are some scenarios:

- Say the Leafs have decided to be pro-active and try to move Phaneuf. If possible, they’d want to keep him out of the conference (as they were able to do with five of the past six captains they’ve traded or let go) and find a taker for his cumbersome salary. That narrows the field considerably, even with the prospect of the Leafs eating a portion of his $7-million cap hit. But clubs such as San Jose and Edmonton (Phaneuf’s hometown) jump to mind as teams looking for depth on the blue line, as opposed to a new team over-taxing Phaneuf in his current No. 1 role in Toronto.

- The Leafs can wait and let teams come to them, especially after July 1 when a few UFAs around the league hit the road.


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