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Maple Leafs deal Phaneuf in 9-player trade; clearing space for Stamkos?

Toronto Maple Leafs' Dion Phaneuf, left, carries the puck past Lightning's Steven Stamkos during a 2014 game in Toronto. [AP Photo/Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese]

Toronto Maple Leafs' Dion Phaneuf, left, carries the puck past Lightning's Steven Stamkos during a 2014 game in Toronto. [AP Photo/Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese]

TORONTO — The Ottawa Senators acquired defenseman Dion Phaneuf from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday in a nine-player blockbuster trade weeks before the deadline.

Ottawa gets Phaneuf, forwards Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey and Ryan Rupert, and defensive prospect Cody Donaghey from the Maple Leafs for defenseman Jared Cowen, forwards Milan Michalek, Colin Greening and Tobias Lindberg and a second-round pick in the 2017 draft. There is no salary being retained by either team.

The deal represents a housecleaning for Toronto and clears roster and salary space for president Brendan Shanahan's rebuilding project. It will do nothing to quiet speculation about the Maple Leafs' possible pursuit of Steven Stamkos, the Toronto-area native who can be an unrestricted free agent this summer if he doesn't agree to an extension with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

RELATED: Are Maple Leafs gearing up to make a run at Steven Stamkos?

Phaneuf, the Maple Leafs' captain for the past six seasons, is the centerpiece of the deal. The 30-year-old has five years left on his contract at a salary-cap hit of $7 million.

With the Senators, Phaneuf won't have the pressure of being captain nor the expectation of being a top-pairing defenseman. Two-time Norris Trophy-winner Erik Karlsson fits the bill there.

Ottawa hopes that adding Phaneuf, who has three goals and 21 assists this season, helps its playoff push. The Senators are four points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Maple Leafs deal Phaneuf in 9-player trade; clearing space for Stamkos? 02/09/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 9:19pm]
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