This time of year hyperbole and overstatement are rife in the hockey world, whether in these parts or those beyond.

Last fall, for example, Steven Stamkos was going to score 70 goals (guilty), Dustin Byfuglien was a Norris Trophy candidate and there was no chance the Maple Leafs were going to be able to get anything of value for Tomas Kaberle after failing to trade him during the summer.

So let's stay away from overstating the case on anything, or specifically, when it comes to Dion Phaneuf. Let's not say he's the best defenceman in the league or a sure-fire all-star at his position or a lock to be part of Team Canada when and if the NHL sends players to the Sochi Olympics in three years.

Let's just say he's back in the conversation on some of those fronts.