The Toronto Maple Leafs pulled off a major trade on Tuesday, shipping Dion Phaneuf along with career minor leaguers (Casey Bailey, Matt Frattin, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghey) to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2017 2nd round pick, B prospect Tobias Lindberg, Jared Cowen, Milan Michalek and Colin Greening. While many (including myself), consider this trade a lopsided victory for Toronto, there are still some pros and cons in this trade for both teams.
Advantages for Toronto
First of all, the Leafs were able to get rid of Phaneuf's contract without having to retain any salary and did not have to take back a long term contract in the process. Instead, they took on the overpaid short term contracts of Colin Greening ($2.65 million) and Milan Michalek ($4 million) and both of their contracts expire after the 2016-2017 season; therefore, freeing up a ton of cap space for the Maple Leafs much sooner than expected.
For a quick view of both players, Michalek is an injury prone 3rd liner who could probably be an average 2nd liner if he was healthy and Colin Greening is a minor leaguer/4th liner who has been struggling to score at both levels as of late.
Possible untapped potential
The Maple Leafs also took on the contract of 25 year old, hulking defenseman Jared Cowen ($3.1 million). The advantages here are that he is not overpaid (making excellent 3rd pairing defenseman money), his contract expires after this season and he is still young enough to reach his potential. The 8th overall pick in the 2009 draft, was considered one of the best defensive prospects in the draft and the hype was unreal for the Sens until, his play got hampered by inconsistencies and injuries over his career. Because of this, Cowen wanted a fresh start and now he's got it; hopefully, he plays well enough to remain with the team.
Close to Expected Value
In my previous article (Maple Leafs Trade Deadline Outlook), I stated that Dion Phaneuf's trade value was a late 1st to any 2nd round pick and a B prospect (or 2) and that is exactly what the Maple Leafs got in return for Phaneuf. They got a 2017 2nd round draft pick (which will probably be a mid 2nd) and a potential top 9 forward in Tobias Lindberg.
Tobias Lindberg was drafted in the 4th round (102 overall) by the Sens in 2013. After spending multiple seasons in the Swedish junior program, he made the jump to the OHL last season as he scored 78 points in 67 games in his first and final season for the OHL'S Oshawa Generals. This season, he had 22 points in 33 games for the Binghamton Senators before being traded to the Toronto Marlies.
Disadvantage for Toronto
The year of the 2nd round pick
The only disadvantage of the trade is that the 2nd round pick the Leafs picked up was not for this year's draft. It is better to get picks right away because the earlier prospects are drafted, the less time it takes them to get into the NHL and become impact players. Other than this, I cannot see any other disadvantage in this trade for the Maple Leafs.