Report: Detroit Wouldn’t Part with Anthony Mantha in a Deal for Dion Phaneuf

Sounds like the Leafs were looking for a king’s ransom if they were going to part with Dion Phaneuf.

According to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, a Phaneuf-to-Detroit deal could have fallen through based on Toronto’s high asking price; one that included Red Wings top prospect Anthony Mantha.

From Kypreos:

My understanding was that Phaneuf’s only team that he had on a list that was manageable to be moved was the Detroit Red Wings, and I think they could have had a deal done today. I really believe that Brendan Shanahan and Dave Nonis could have had a deal done today, with money in and money out, but here’s the problem – the price was too high. My understanding was the player that the Leafs wanted was Anthony Mantha, and that was not happening.

Last year, Mantha had a monster season, scoring 57 goals and 120 points in 57 games with the Val-d’Or Foreurs of the QMJHL. This season, he has 10 goals and 21 points in 43 games with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins

What we don’t know is whether Mantha was the only piece hypothetically coming back, or if there were other parts included to ‘sweeten’ the deal.

I could imagine the Leafs offered up Phaneuf in exchange for an expensive contract like Stephen Weiss ($4.9M cap hit for three more years), Anthony Mantha and a first round pick. That was likely (and very quickly) shot down.

Detroit probably wanted to keep their prospect, and instead offered something along the lines of Weiss and a draft pick, but also asked the Leafs to retain salary to the tune of $2M per season for the remained of Phaneuf’s contract. 

That is a large gap. Probably one that can’t be bridged over the span of a single trade deadline day.

So, we know that the Leafs were willing to take on a dollar figure hit in any Phaneuf deal, whether it be in the form of a bad contract or retained salary (or both), but they were also asking for at least one enormously valuable asset as well.

You have to imagine this kind of deal will be much easier to facilitate after the 2014-15 season ends.

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  • Sparadino

    The fact that Dave Nonis and the so called Leafs braintrust think that Detroit would give up one of the best prospects in Grand Rapids for Dion almost made me laugh as hard as when the leafs signed him. The reality is they will eat 2M and get nothing much back at best for him. What a complete joke this organization is.

  • CMpuck

    haha, i told my co-worker (a wings fan) that detroit got phaneuf for weiss, mantha, and a 2nd, hoping to freak him out. he didn’t bite, knowing detroit would never give up mantha for phaneuf.

    asking for mantha is certainly reaching for the stars, but i’m glad the leafs are asking too much for their players now instead of just giving them away. waiting for the draft or just after free agency starts to trade phaneuf/kessel/etc. is the right move for the leafs.

    • Sparadino

      The very idea of Detroit giving Mantha up for Dion is so out to lunch. Ok so let’s really think about it. Detroit wins multiple cups. slightly dips in recent years only to retool on the fly and manage to get going on an upward trajectory. The only thing that allows them to do this is their deep rooted belief as an organization in developing and building thru the drafting process, nourishing their prospects and investing time and money very much like a fortune 500 company does in R&D, all designed to stay ahead of the curve in the NHL. Then comes along Dave Nonis, arguably one of the worst GM’s and evaluator of talent employed to run an NHL team post lock out and he thinks Detroit is the team that will help him clean up the Dion mess? The only way this would be funnier is if Charlie Sheen was hired to play the role of Dave Nonis.

      • Sparadino

        There you go Sparadino upsetting the masses in here by telling the truth. You summed it up perfectly by stating how the Red Wings under their superb owner have run their organization first rate from the top to the bottom. Yes indeed a fortune 500 company at the top of their game year after year.

    • Jeremy Ian

      I’m with you. If the Leafs had traded away Phaneuf for Weiss and a 2nd, I would have given up altogether. Bargain hard, and optimize the timing. This is NOT the best moment to deal expensive contracts when buyers can’t predict the cap and are pressed against it anyway. Buyers are going to be very risk averse on term and discount as a result.

      For UFA’s it was a dealer’s market; for the heavy contracts it was the opposite.

  • CMpuck

    THANK GOD, when they reported the return would be Weiss and kindle i was very worried, I was hoping Dion would get traded but he still has good value, and we shouldn’t give him away. glad to know someone has a brain. They will be able to get that value in the summer from a team. I’m finally happy with the moves the leafs are making, wake me up in three years please. 😀

  • Jeremy Ian

    If they asked for a 1st as well as mantha then they were asking for far too much. but there might be a chance of getting Mantha on his own or maybe with a late pick as well in the offseason if we take weiss and eat some of phaneufs contract. If we can find a way to get mantha that’d be great & they should make it happen, but requesting a first + mantha they’re nuts

  • The Leafs didn’t have to unload Phaneuf at the deadline. Hell, they dont even have to unload him in the offseason (though, that would be smart if they did).

    Point is, now is the time to ask for the stars. Because you’re dealing more from a position of power in the offseason, so you can always fall back on that.

    • Sparadino

      You can’t possibly believe that? I’m assuming as a managing contributor on this site that you should at the very least have a grasp of how bad the contract is. Both money and term. Dion at best on a cup contending team is a 4 and possible a 5d-man. The reality is had he been put on waivers this season, if that was possible under the terms of his contract, which it wasn’t, not 1 team would have claimed him straight up. Yes read that again if you must because it is the truth. You are not getting a star for Dion, that is beyond laughable it is stupid and scary to think that. You are right when you say it wasn’t do or die to move him prior to the deadline but you need to start managing your expectations. They will most likely eat $2M and get a decent prospect, but certainly not a star prospect otherwise they must be prepared to keep him which at the end of the day will continue to serve the Leafs well with respect to quality draft picks because no team with Neon Dion leading the way will be competitive.

      • CMpuck

        Dude, it’s homerism, they post articles about wanting a rebuild but aren’t willing to turn the page on any talent. Hell, Kadri is considered an untouchable on this site, that’s right Kadri a piece no playoff team in the league would need.

        Say they want a rebuild but won’t retain salary while ignoring that a rebuilding team doesn’t need cap room. It’s stupid.

        Can’t expect a homer to endorse a tough decision.

        • Sparadino

          This is really tough for logical Leaf fans to deal with. The dreamer homers coupled with the huge percentage of moronic media sports reporters make pulling for this team very hard to do. I’m just really hoping Shanny and Hunter see things in a very clear and logical way. Both have been winners and I just refuse to believe that they will start next season without having moved at bare minimum 3 of the 5 perceived core players on this team.

          • Sparadino

            Just like many people on here are a bit too optimistic, I think you chaps are a bit too negative in your assessments. Is phaneuf a 1 or 2 on a contending team? Not most of them, that’s for sure. Is kadri a 1c on any contending team? Definitely not! But do either / both of them have a place on a contending team at as 2/3D or 2C. Damn right they do, and to sell them for less value would be poor asset management, and we’ve had enough of that. Will we need to retain 1-2M on phaneuf if we want more than a mid level prospect? Most likely… But we shouldn’t have sold now when teams were strapped and there were far less suitors. This shouldn’t be a hasty rebuild…. And I think that’s what not dumping phaneuf showed, that management is taking a longer term and calculating approach, which should make everyone happy.

        • Come off it. That’s ridiculous.

          There’s really no homerism on this site. All of the writers on this site think the team is garbage and want everybody expect Morgan Rielly traded. Don’t know how you can call that homerism.

          Kadri isn’t considered an untouchable by most of our writers. Some might think he should stay – I think he should stay – but that doesn’t mean he can’t be traded for the right price.

          Same with Dion. We pretty much all think he needs to go, but yeah, of course you should try to avoid retaining salary at all costs. If we were talking about a couple years, that’s one thing, but this team could be competing again and need that salary cap space in 5-6 years from now when Dion is still on the books.

        • Sparadino

          I’m very relaxed. And how exactly do you come to the conclusion that Detroit would pick him up when they couldn’t come to terms on a deal with Toronto eating salary? They are eating money on this one if they want to get it done in the off season very much like your mother eats….opps this is a family site.

      • TGT23

        Dion is not a 4 or 5, that’s ridiculously silly to say. Even if you hate the guy everyone knows he’s a 2 or 3. His contract isn’t as bad as you make it seem, either. It’s about what he’d have gotten on the open market.

        And I don’t think ANYONE has said they expect a STAR for him, he said “now is the time to ask for the stars” meaning ask for more than you think you can reasonably get and maybe some desperate team will do the trade. Like… reach for the stars… Ask for the Moon and the Stars… That kind of deal… You misinterpreted what he said.

        And Kadri is a 2C on most teams not named Pittsburgh. Saying he isn’t is ridiculous. And weren’t the Leafs competitive two seasons ago when they made the playoffs or last season until Bernier went down?

        Now, will the Leafs have to eat 2M of Dion’s contract in the end? Probably. But, considering Detroit seemed to want the Leafs to eat contract AND take on a bad contract AND not give anything back, what would be the point in making that deal?

        Hey, we got rid of Dion! Now we have Stephen Weiss and nothing else of note…… Yay?

        The draft was always going to be when Bozak, Lupul, Kessel, and Dion would be traded. We’ve heard that for weeks. Just because they managed to shed Clarkson doesn’t mean literally everything and anything was going to happen at the deadline.

        It doesn’t help the rebuild to trade off assets and quality players and get nothing in return. If they didn’t get what they wanted at the deadline then waiting and showing patience is smart.

        They got rid of all the UFA’s, they got more for Holzer and Jokinen than anyone could have expected, they didn’t need to sell every asset by Monday. The rebuild isn’t a failure because they didn’t. They’ve done a decent amount and they’ll finish in the off-season or, possibly sometime next season.

        Patience. You’ll need some to survive the next 5 years of the rebuild.

        • Sparadino

          We just don’t agree. Dion is not a 2 D-man on a top tier team – he simply isn’t. Kadri is not a #2 centre on any top tier team (he has potential to reach that goal IMO). The Leafs have unfortunately managed to sign second tier players like as if they were alpha dogs in the league simply because they happened to be the best players on an average at best team. This is the reality of the situation. Straight up hockey deals will not be thrown at the Leafs for the majority of these players IMO. And thats not to say that these players are horrible because they could run off 10 games again but how does that help the long term goals of the team? I’m of the opinion that improvement by subtraction will be staring the Leafs in the face come the off season.

      • I absolutely believe it. The contract is expensive and it is long, but to say that Dion Phaneuf is a possible #5D on a contending team is ridiculous. That just isn’t true.

        And of course no team would take him on straight up. Nobody has that cap space/money. I’m fully aware that Phaneuf should be traded and that the Leafs will need to eat some cash, but I’d rather that come in the form of a bad contract for three years as opposed to retaining salary for six.

        As for the sweetener, I’d absolutely dangle him out there and see if someone is desperate enough to pay too much for him. The deadline is the when you can do that. If it doesn’t happen, so what? Wait until the offseason, sell him for best offer. Ideally, the best offer will be high if several teams get in on the bidding.

        What about all of that is so hard to understand? Economics 101, bro.

  • It completely makes sense to ask for Mantha and a 1st. You never start negotiations with the price you expect you will actually get, you start somewhere high – maybe they accept – and you end somewhere lower but probably where you should fall.

    Of course no one taught the inverse to Nonis regarding Clarkson’s contract and starting low.

  • Sparadino

    Go back under the bridge trolls!

    The Leafs don’t *have* to trade Phaneuf…they’ll get better value for him in the off-season or next season or beyond. With the team wanting to be crap next season they can just hang on to him as they (hopefully) won’t be needing a lot of cap room after that Clarkson/Horton trade. Save that money for Stamkos in Summer 2016!! ;D

  • Sparadino


    Will the stock value of Leaf players drop after this season ends?

    The Leafs will not fare well till then imo.

    Therefore, I reckon the Leafs should of made more moves to get more value at this time.

    The Leafs have at least 3 forwards that would of paid handsomely imo. I am almost certain a team like Boston or San Jose could of used them.

    Btw, I scanned through Bobby Orr’s new book at the store. I will buy one and I highly recommend it.

    One great photo of Sittler at Orr’s family cottage from the 70’s. Did not know those guys hung out together.
    Anyway, it least we could aas Canadians do to for Orr to buy
    his book.

  • Sparadino

    That was just the starting asking price so doesn’t mean a whole lot. The deadline was more about moving expiring contracts and the Leafs have moved 6 players, most before the deadline. Not a bad start with time in the off-season for bigger moves. It would have been nice to have a few more picks for the coming draft but if they pick up more for 2016 in the summer, that’s good too.

  • STAN

    The fact that Dave Nonis wasn’t fired the same day Brendan Shanahan was hired tells us everything about this organization.

    Trevor Linden was given the Canucks’ Presidency because he had a clear vision, was a team icon and had an impressive track record as a businessman and executive. He wasted no time in cleaning out the GM and head coaches office.

    Not so Brendan Shanahan. He had nothing to do with the Leafs past and had virtually no executive experience. It starts there.

    So Nonis is still making personnel decisions for this team, despite his absolutely horrendous track record, including (as Sparadino rightly points out) costing MLSE at least $50M… and counting.

    It’s beyond disbelief.

    If Nonis isn’t turfed on April 12th or sooner I can envision much really changing under Shanahan.