Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/04/13 at 09:31 AM ET
from Lyle Richardson at The Hockey News,
The Toronto Maple Leafs avoided losing star forward Phil Kessel to free agency next July by inking him this week to an eight-year, $64-million contract extension.
Now their focus shifts to captain Dion Phaneuf, who’s also slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reported talks between Phaneuf and Leafs management haven’t started yet, but could begin soon.
Phaneuf, 28, will be coming off a six-year, $39-million deal he signed with the Calgary Flames before his trade to the Maple Leafs midway through the 2009-10 season.
His critics, however, suggest his performance since joining the Leafs hasn’t met the expectations of a top defenseman earning $6.5 million per season.
Though he possesses strong offensive skills and an aggressive physical style, Phaneuf’s inconsistency on defense frequently draws criticism from Toronto pundits.
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