Saturday, January 23, 2010

Are the Rangers Targeting Dion Phaneuf ?

Rumors have been flying around Calgary for a few weeks now that Dion Phaneuf has requested a trade. This rumor has been adamently denied by the Flames GM Darryl Sutter.

Darryl Sutter and his brother Ron, a scout for the Flames have been at the last two Rangers game (Tampa and Philly). Of course, when you see a General Manager scouting a team the rumor wheel is going to start turning, especially when one of that team's star players is rumored to have requested a trade. But, if there is a trade in the works, is the player involved Dion Phaneuf?

The Flames are believed to be seeking some offensive depth and as rumored earlier in the week, Rangers forward Ales Kotalik may have requested a trade. Could the Flames be interested in Kotalik? I find that hard to believe, considering that Kotalik hasn't been productive and has two years left on his contract at $3M per season.

Of course, immediately everyone is going to say that this isn't happening just because Phaneuf and Sean Avery couldn't play on the same team. If anything stops the trade from happening (if it is in fact in the works) it will be because the Rangers don't want to part with Brandon Dubinksy. Whether Dion Phaneuf and Sean Avery become best friends is an afterthought in Sather's mind. Should it matter? Maybe. But, Sather has some recent history of doing things like this that you wouldn't expect.
  • Sather brought Sean Avery back to New York when it was clear that John Tortorella didn't want Avery in New York.

  • Then there's the whole Donald Brashear destroying Blair Betts in the playoffs last season and then signing for the Rangers just a few months later. 
I for one don't see the Rangers making a huge trade like this. I've always viewed Phaneuf as being overrated, but there's no denying that he is a large physical presence on the blue line. That's something that the Rangers haven't had since Jeff Beukebook hung up his skates. The question is, what exactly would Calgary want in return?

The Flames and Rangers have already played their one game scheduled for this season. Unless of course, the Flames are scouting the Rangers in anticipation of meeting them in the Stanley Cup Finals. (I kid!)

For more on the Phaneuf to Rangers rumor check out today's Larry Brooks article

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