How much will it cost the Maple Leafs to re-sign Dion Phaneuf? Should the Leafs pick up part of John-Michael Liles contract to facilitate a trade? Which Flames could become trade bait this season?

Will the Leafs re-sign Dion Phaneuf?

Will the Leafs re-sign Dion Phaneuf?

ESPN.COM’s Pierre LeBrun yesterday tweeted the following on Dion Phaneuf: “Next up for Toronto is captain Dion Phaneuf, also UFA after season. Talks haven’t begun yet on that front but source said should begin soon.”

TSN’s Darren Dreger believes Phaneuf “will not take a dime less than 6.5 million”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Their comments come following the Maple Leafs re-signing Phaneuf’s teammate Phil Kessel to an eight-year, $64 million contract.  Dreger obviously means not a dime less than $6.5 million per season, not overall. If he won’t accept less than $6.5 million per, the Leafs could offer him a shorter term.  

Doesn’t sound like something which gets resolved during this season. The Leafs could prefer waiting to see how the season plays out to judge Phaneuf’s performance.  It’s believed the Leafs want to keep Phaneuf and he wants to stay, but the club could have a tough time selling a big raise for their captain to Toronto pundits and fans.

CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman believes the Leafs at some point might have to ask themselves if it would be worthwhile for their cap situation to “eat” part of John-Michael Liles salary if it could facilitate a trade.  The Leafs demoted Liles, giving them only $925K of cap relief. “The thing they must be careful with is a club can only do this with three players per season”, writes Friedman. “They are now at two, taking small amounts of Ben Scrivens’s and Matt Frattin’s contracts”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs also have $2 million in dead cap space this season tied up on buyouts for Colby Armstrong and Darcy Tucker, though they’ll come off the books next season. The Leafs also cannot use a compliance buyout next June as they used up their allotment on Mikhail Grabovski and Mike Komisarek. Picking up part of Liles salary could be the only way they can free up more cap room, but it remains to be seen if they’ll go that route.

CALGARY SUN: Randy Sportak believes pending UFA winger Mike Cammalleri is the biggest name to watch as a potential trade candidate for the Flames this season. Cammalleri has a limited no-trade clause and his performance this season will determine the value of the return. “The other pending UFAs are forwards Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak, Blair Jones and Tim Jackman, and defencemen Chris Butler, Kris Russell and Derek Smith”, writes Sportak.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cammalleri said he’s open to re-signing, but I’m not sure he has a place in their long-term plans. He’s certainly their most valuable trade chip this season, but with his $6 million cap hit, he probably won’t get moved until the March 5 trade deadline.