If you're a captain of an NHL team in the province of Ontario then it may be time to start packing your bags. That's because the rumor mill in the NHL, this time led by the in-the-know Nick Kypreos, is suggesting you're on the trading block.
Of course the only two teams in the NHL in the province of Ontario are the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators. The Leafs captain is much-maligned defenceman Dion Phaneuf, 29 (just turned), while the captain of the Senators is much-maligned (a little less than Phaneuf) Jason Spezza (who turns 31 in June).
Both players have large and similar contracts, each for seven years and $49 million. The difference? Spezza's contract is up after next season, the 2014-15 season, while that's the season that Phaneuf's contract, an extension signed last January, kicks in.
Kypreos, NHL sources, fuel Phaneuf, Spezza trade rumors
Here's the tweet of note from the Kyper (not the only media reporting the 2 captains are on the block): Ontario captains on the way out soon? Independent sources say both #Sens and #Leafs shopping Spezza/ Phaneuf to west conf #NHL teams. Kypreos also tweeted that teams who have talked to Leafs GM Dave Nonis about their captain want Toronto to pick up between 1 and 2 million dollars on the deal per season. In 80 games last season, Phaneuf had eight goals and 31 points and was a +3.
Spezza is expensive at $7 million for one season, but could help a team looking to contend for the Stanley Cup right now and would be considered an extended rental. What kind of prospect and/or draft pick they would give up, and that Ottawa would take, is up for debate. He had 23 goals and 66 points in 75 games last season; he was a -26.
Neither of their clubs made the playoffs last season.