Where to start?
Who am I kidding?
In a move that stunned everyone in Sens country, the Ottawa Senators completed a 9 player trade that sent Milan Michalek, Colin Greening, whipping-boy Jared Cowen, and prospect Tobias Lindberg to the Toronto Maple Leafs, as well as Ottawa’s second-round pick in 2017. The Senators received Phaneuf, Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert, and Cody Donaghey in return.
The move for Phaneuf is arguably the biggest trade the Senators have made since swapping Marian Hossa for Dany Heatley, and the move has polarized some of the Senators fanbase. Understandable, given that many fans (including the team’s original owner) could never imagine a trade between traditional arch-rivals, much less for the Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
My initial reaction is that this trade benefits all parties involved.
In Phaneuf Ottawa gets a top 4 defenceman who will solidify the 2nd pairing with Cody Ceci, and may even slide up to play some minutes on the top line with Erik Karlsson. I personally think he’s going to be a great fit on the Senators blueline, and will make this team much better defensively.
Phaneuf may be overpaid at $7 million a season, but by the end of his contract that likely won’t seem so bad. Plus, there’s nothing stopping the Senators from trading Phaneuf to one of the teams listed on his no-trade clause.
The Senators likewise move a bad contract in Cowen, who was in desperate need of a new opportunity.
Michalek was an important player for the Senators when healthy, but Bryan Murray said he was an integral piece to the trade and Ottawa bit the bullet to get the player they wanted.
The Maple Leafs lose their captain and a key player in this deal, leaving them with a massive hole in the roster–in other words, exactly what they wanted. Cowen gets one last opportunity to prove himself, or gets bought by the Leafs in the offseason. In Michalek, the Leafs get a serviceable player who can score the team some goals and keep them at least a little bit respectable.
As for the other pieces involved the deal, there isn’t much to write about at this time. Tobias Lindberg will be an NHL’er for the Leafs one day, and the Senators improved their depth in Binghamton with players like Frattin and Rupert.
I could go on about this trade but will leave things at that. There will surely be more to write about Phaneuf to Ottawa in coming days.
Other Ottawa Sports News From Today
So, nothing else happened in the Ottawa Sports universe today, right? Wrong. Unfortunately for the Ottawa Redblacks and Ottawa Fury FC, the Phaneuf trade completely obliterated them from newsfeeds.
The Redblacks signed former Toronto Argonauts QB Trevor Harris to a two-year deal, with the 2nd year paying Harris $400,000, per TSN 1200–starter money in the CFL. In 2015, while replacing an injured Ricky Ray, Harris played 17 games and threw for 4,354 yards with 33 TDs/19 INTs.
With this move, the Redblacks’ succession plan for life after Henry Burris is clear.
In other news, Ottawa Fury FC also released their preseason schedule. After a 2015 season in which the Fury were crowned Fall Season Champions & ultimately lost in the NASL Championship to the New York Cosmos, Fury fans are itching to catch some preseason action and to witness many new signings play for the first time.
Ottawa Fury FC begin training camp on February 15 at the Complexe Branchaud-Briere in Gatineau, and play their first preseason game against the Fury Academy on February 19th. This game will be open to the public, so get there early–viewing areas are likely to be limited and a number of fans will undoubtedly show up.
Many of Fury FC’s preseason games will be taking place away from home. Close to home, they play TFC II in Toronto on Friday, February 26, and on Saturday, March 19 against FC Montreal at Olympic Stadium. At present time both games are closed to the public, and I don’t think this is likely to change.
Finally, Fury FC play an intrasquad match at TD Place on Friday, March 25, and though the game is not listed as open to the public, I’m guessing that changes.
All in all, a pretty insane day on the Ottawa Sports scene. Expect more to come.
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