The predictable reason why Phaneuf-to-the-Red Wings trade fell apart: asking price

After watching how Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland walked away from the negotiating table with the Buffalo Sabres earlier this season when they demanded that top-prospect Anthony Mantha be included in any trade for defenseman Tyler Myers, you would think that other teams would pick up on the fact that Holland will not be moving him for any reason.

Apparently Toronto didn’t get that memo.

The Red Wings wanted Toronto to eat a portion of Dion Phaneuf’s $7 million yearly cap hit in the deal, (reportedly $1.5 – $2 million), no matter what assets would be going their way. The Leafs were apparently complacent to take up a chunk of the contract, but only if Mantha was included as part of the trade. They were also willing to accept Dylan Larkin as a substitute for Mantha, but either way also wanted Detroit’s 1st-round selection in this year’s draft included with either of the players that Detroit chose. Toronto was attempting to make a “hockey deal” out of what the Red Wings brass was seeing more as a “salary-for-salary” move. There were also reports that Toronto would have wanted Brendan Smith as part of a separate offer.

Most reports state that the Red Wings wanted not only for Toronto to eat a chunk of Phaneuf’s contract, but also wanted to offload salary in the deal, a contract such as Stephen Weiss’, with the rest of the assets heading to Toronto “not being grade-A stuff“. Once both sides realized that they were looking at two completely different trades over the matter, they moved on.

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This almost seems like a dodged bullet for Detroit now, as they were able to pick up right-handed veteran defenseman Marek Zidlicky for next to nothing before the deadline came and went. If any moves are made for Phaneuf now, they’ll wait until the off-season, when Detroit knows whether or not they were right in the moves they made.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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