Dion Phaneuf and the Toronto Maple Leafs are rumored to be close to finalizing a seven-year contract extension that would keep the defenseman in town through the 2020-21 season. Hockeybuzz.com, TheFourthPeriod.com and The Toronto Star are all reporting that Toronto’s captain is in the final stages of working out a deal with the Leafs.
He simply told Mark Zwolinski of the Star that he had “no comment” on Friday after the team returned from the holiday break, but the buzz is that the team will announce the deal prior to Toronto taking part in the Winter Classic on Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Dion Phaneuf and the Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly very close to an extension. http://t.co/BfoPQaiHu1
— theScore (@theScore) December 27, 2013
As per Zwolinski’s report in the Star:
It’s widely believed Phaneuf will pull down an extension worth $7 million per season over seven years. The dollars and terms of the contract — which have long been speculated on — have given rise to mixed reaction from Leafs fans and the club’s critics. But Phaneuf is in an ideal situation. Toronto’s cap picture will only brighten with the NHL increasing its cap next season, and projecting sustained increases over the next several years.
Given that Phaneuf carried a $6.5 million cap hit over the life of his expiring contract, a $500,000 raise per year would be a solid coup for the Leafs. Especially given what a guy like P.K. Subban is likely to get, regardless of where he ends up.