Dion Phaneuf was signed when he was hot, Calgary Flames HOT! He had back-to-back 50 points in his first two seasons in the NHL and was rewarded greatly with a $39 million six year contract extension in February 2008.
But now he is not even seen as a threat to other teams. At $6.5 million per year he is not proving his own worth.
Now let us not get confused, I am a gigantic Calgary Flames fan but I also made complaints about players like Tony Amonte and Jeff Friezen. Which the current roster speaks for itself on how useless those boys were in red.
Continuing on, the beginning of the season there was a lot of heat on Miikka Kiprusoff and his large contract and how he was not proving his worth, however now half way through the season there is talk about breaking Brodeur's most wins by a goalie record. OK #34's stats are not great but I can place that on poor defense. There is no way Kipper should be facing 30, 35, 40+ shots a night and expect to give the team a W.
Brings me back to Dion, in those 50 point years he compensated for allowing poor defensive plays and even had a great plus/minus for he stepped up huge on power plays. But recently he has been missing the big hits allowing for the opposing team to prepare and capitalize on his mistakes.
Now halfway through the 2008-2009 season Dion has a horrendous -8 on the plus/minus (only person worse is Bertuzzi however in Todd's five less games he has 12 goals to Dion's five), has third most penalty minutes on the team and most noticeably a 2.9% shot percentage for worst on the team
stats taken from http://flames.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=Stats gathered on February 2, 2009.
My worries deepen in that he uses so much of the salary cap that we could lose some key younger players such as Cammalleri, Borque, Roy, Moss, Glencross, etc. Phaneuf should take a pay cut just as the other captain Jarome Iginla and goalie Miikka Kiprusoff did to keep together a winning team.
Because it is too late to get anything trade value out of him as other teams realize his decline, and we could have gotten a lot for him two years ago, but now he is engraved in many Flames fans as future franchise and defensive player of the future...until then I want more performance for my money when I watch those games.