New York Rangers Should Pursue Dion Phaneuf

Metro HockeyCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2010

According to various sources, the Calgary Flames are looking to trade star defenseman Dion Phaneuf. Normally, the Rangers would not be linked to anything like this because of their limited cap room and in order to acquire him, they would have to shed a large contract to make the trade happen. But then, on MSG Network two games ago, Sam Rosen mentioned how Flames' scouts had been in attendance for three straight Rangers games, including the general manager himself, Darryl Sutter, who attended the last one. Very rarely does a GM come in person to scout a game, and if he does, that must mean something is in the works, or at least the attempt is being made.

When you look at it, Phaneuf is everything the Rangers lack on the blue line: a noticeable physical presence with a bomb of a slap shot. He is the tour-de-force of the Flames powerplay and is actually a top-tier fighter. He has already played in 375 games over the course of the last four seasons and change, and has put up 226 points during the time; 128 of those coming with the man advantage. He also happens to be only 24 years old. He seems to be the perfect defenseman because he does everything. So why are the Flames looking to trade him, then?

Your guess is as good as mine. From Phanuef's standpoint, he may be unhappy in his present location and wants a change of scenery. From management's perspective, the team is in a pretty tight salary cap situation (much like the Rangers) and with Jay Bouwmeester making nearly $7 million a season and Phaneuf himself making $6.5 million for the next four years, it would do much to alleviate their situation should they move him. Their defensive corps which consists of the two mentioned above along with Robyn Regehr at $4 million and Cory Sarich at $3.6, ties up nearly $19 million in just four defenseman alone.

Meanwhile, the Rangers situation is not much better. Should the Rangers go after a young stud like Phaneuf, Marc Staal would definitely have to be thrown in there. But even then, the Rangers would not be able to afford it. The Flames surely would not take Redden since his contact is identical to Phaneuf's, which means that they would have to take Michal Rozsival as well as Staal. Below is a trade proposal I have drawn up between the two teams. It was difficult to do because the Rangers have roughly $800,000 in cap space while the Flames have $1.2 million.

To Flames
Michal Rozsival ($5 million)
Ales Kotalik ($3 million)
Marc Staal ($800,000
Total: $8.8 million

To Rangers
Dion Phaneuf ($6.5 million)
Craig Conroy ($1.05 million
Total: $7.55 million

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