What Would He Have Received On Day One Of Free Agency?

So we all are fine with the fact that on day one of free agency, some big contracts can be handed out, and yesterday was no different.

Teams can also hand out some big deals in-season to ensure their pending UFA doesn’t hit the open market and lose them for nothing.

Let us look at some basic stats of two defensemen, one who signed yesterday, and one who signed during the season.

 2007-2008 78 7 19 26 36
 2008-2009 80 6 29 35 52
 2009-2010 74 3 12 15 18
 2010-2011 45 0 6 6 30
18 1 3 4 20
 2011-2012 75 4 17 21 47
 2012-2013 40 4 10 14 12
 2013-2014 81 10 36 46 51
 Totals 491 35 132 167 266
 2005-2006 82 20 29 49 93
 2006-2007 79 17 33 50 98
 2007-2008 82 17 43 60 182
 2008-2009 80 11 36 47 100
 2009-2010 55 10 12 22 49
 2010-2011 66 8 22 30 88
 2011-2012 82 12 32 44 92
 2012-2013 48 9 19 28 65
 2013-2014 80 8 23 31 144
 Totals 654 112 249 361 911

I am by no means comparing the two as playing a similar game, just what contracts they signed, and what might have happened if one hit the open market. I am also not using stats as the “be all, end-all” in what a players contract is based on.

The top collection of stats belongs to the 27-year old Matt Niskanen, who signed a seven-year, $40.25 million deal yesterday. The deal carries a $5.75 million cap hit.

The below collection of stats belongs to 29-year old Dion Phaneuf, who signed a seven-year, $49 million deal earlier this past season. The deal carries a $7 million cap hit.

We also know Phaneuf has his plenty of haters, but he’s not nearly as bad as he’s sometimes made out to be. Another reference point is that 33-year old Brooks Orpik signed for five-years for $27.5 million, a $5.5 million cap hit, yesterday.

So, if Phaneuf wasn’t signed during the season and was a free agent yesterday, what do you think Phaneuf would have received?


  1. Jeff

    July 2, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    7 years x $7.5m per.

  2. Chris

    July 2, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Great post. Very true.

    I find it interesting when people say that “The Leafs will never be a good defensive team because Phaneuf is their #1 d man” as if Phaneuf is responsible for their entire team defensive system.

    When I counter that argument with “Shea Weber was -2 last year and Phaneuf was +3” the reply is usually something along the lines of “oh yeah but Nashville are a bad team”.

    So which is it? Is it the team or the player? If you think it’s the player then Shea Weber isn’t as good as everybody says he is; if you think it’s the team then Phaneuf isn’t as bad as everybody says he is. So which is it?

    Personally I obviously don’t believe that Phaneuf is the same class as Shea Weber; with that being said I do believe that if the Leafs played a solid defensive system as a TEAM then he’d have a much easier time.

    If you actually WATCH Leaf games (which if you’re not a Leaf fan you probably don’t) you’d know that Phaneuf was actually having a great year until the wheels fell off the entire team. He was on the #1PP, #1PK and played against the other team’s top lines. He wasn’t putting up the same offence as before but at one point he was a +15.

    You could see that he tried to do way too much once the team started losing. He started rushing more and getting caught more. He started trying to make too many hero stretch passes to forwards up ice (because they had left the zone way too early).

    If the team can play behind the puck, win puck battles, gain possession and break out then Phaneuf will be able to simply play his game.

    Is he Shea Weber? No. But he most certainly doesn’t suck and considering Brooks Orpik got 5.75 mil, Nikitin got 4.5 mil etc. 7 mil isn’t all too bad for a guy who does what Phaneuf does.

    Now as a Captain? Brutal.

  3. ChrisB

    July 2, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    If Phaneuf hit FA, I think it would depend on his preference. If he’s only looking at playoff teams, then I think he probably could get roughly what he signed with TO. If he had no preference, and goes strictly to the higest bidder……I can see a team like Edmonton having to go much higher

  4. Jeff

    July 2, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Agree w/Chris.

  5. Kevin M

    July 2, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    If Phaneuf was a UFA yesterday I think he would have gotten atleast 7 x 7 considering how desperate some teams are out there. I’d think a team like the Islanders would offer hi 7 years for 8 million a year

  6. david k

    July 3, 2014 at 5:09 am

    I agree with chris.i think edm. wood go 9 maby or 8.5..mabu suban money

  7. david k

    July 3, 2014 at 5:11 am

    can anyone tell me why tor ley mclemment go. he was zgood bevensive and faceoff mam …SO WHY?

  8. Max

    July 3, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I think the Red Wings are screwed and need help ASAP. Not related to the article just wanted to share that with you guys.

  9. fastfred

    July 8, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    It’s a bit silly, because the only thing the charts look at is offensive stats. What they don’t show is that Niskanen is a better defensive defenceman than Phaneuf, while also putting up better offensive numbers last year.

    Phaneuf’s defensive shortcomings were hidden for most of the year, because he was paired with a very good defensive partner. When they were split up for the last few weeks, Phaneuf’s poor defensive play became obvious, and his numbers reflected that.

    I’m not dumping on Phaneuf, but his game is mainly offensive, which is important, but he’s not the well-rounded package that some people think. As a UFA, I think he would get about 5M per year/