In evauluating the trades, any hockey pundit will tell you that you need to wait for an extended period of time down the road to see who 'wins' a trade.
I on the other hand see a way to evaluate this trade right now, I think there is a simple way to look at this from a Leafs fan perspective and be more than happy with it.
For starters, let me say that I think Phaneuf's game has to improve, and will improve with time. He is still young at only 24 years old, and hopefully this trade will serve as a wake up call for him and his game will rebound.
That being said, this is how I evaluate the trade.
I match up on a player for player basis, essentially breaking it down into smaller trades.
If the Leafs were to be moving these assets alone, the return would be viewed as pretty good in my eyes.
If the Leafs were going to move White alone, it would be a young forward, or a prospect younger than himself.
White for Aulie
With Aulie being viewed as a blue chip prospect on the back end, I think Toronto surely gained enough for White's value.
If the Leafs were to trade Mayers, a late pick was a likely best scenario.
Mayers for Sjostrom
With the Leafs in dire need of help on the penalty kill to avoid being the worst in the history of the NHL, the value of adding Sjostrom to the deal may be paramount for the Leafs team moving forward.
That leaves Hagman and Stajan. If the Leafs were to trade Stajan alone, they were likely looking at an Antropov type deal at best, where they get a 2nd round pick and perhaps a late draft pick with strings attached. If Hagman was moved alone, he would have maybe been able to get a late first round pick, but more likely, would have received a 2nd or 3rd round pick and a prospect.
Stajan and Hagman for Phaneuf
While on paper this season, it might look to be an overpayment, but go back 12 months, and would anyone hesitate to make this move. Add that to the fact that Stajan is UFA and is putting up career numbers, and those two players might equal the cap hit of Phaneuf next year anyways. With the added flexibility to move other blue liners, this seems like it would be a no brainer for me to pull the trigger on individually.
In my eyes, this seems to be a win-win-win type trade for the Leafs, and has the potential to be even better further down the road.