Former Maple Leafs assistant general manager Bill Watters was interviewed on Oilers Now on Friday, and he had both an interesting rumour and some harsh words for Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf. In part, here’s what he had to say: Dion Phaneuf should be dispatched as soon as they possibly can and the story I hear is that Edmonton’s interested and if they are tell [general manager Craig MacTavish] to take him and have fun with him. I find him to be the most overrated, undernourished hockey player in the history of the NHL and whoever made him the captain of the Maple Leafs should have been fired six years ago. Watters further criticized Phaneuf over the course of the interview, with a particular emphasis on his character and leadership abilities, but the interesting thing from an Oilers perspective is his idea that Edmonton is interested in adding Phaneuf to their defence corps. At first blush, it’s easy to make a case for the match between player and team. He is a legitimate top-pairing defenceman who adds size (6’3”, 214 pounds), scoring ability (scored at a 48 point pace this season), snarl and at the age of 28 is a pretty decent fit for the Oilers’ young cluster of talent. Phaneuf has played some tough minutes in Toronto the last few years. He’s faced top-pairing opposition, seeing the other team’s best players every night, and generally he’s started a lot of shifts in his own end of the ice. Last season, he did that while carting around AHL’ers Korbinian Holzer and Mike Kostka more than half the time. It’s a great way to make any defenceman look bad: feed him to the wolves and shackle a ball and chain to his ankle. One of the other areas Watters criticized was Phaneuf’s power play production, which is kind of an odd critique. Phaneuf tied for fifth in power play scoring among NHL defencemen last season and was sixth in 2011-12 – his numbers adjusted for ice-time have also been excellent of late in that situation. He had a couple of bad years before that but was brilliant on the power play in Calgary for the first four seasons of his career.
Ex-Leafs executive says the Oilers may be interested in Dion Phaneuf
Edmonton Journal | Jul 13