Calgary Flames 3 days until the season starts: #3 Dion Phaneuf

CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 23 2009: (Photo by Brad Watson/NHLI via Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 23 2009: (Photo by Brad Watson/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The final preseason game is over! Now with just three days until the regular season starts up, let’s take a look at a former Calgary Flames player with that number.

Since the start of August, we’re counting down the number of days left until the regular season starts up again! Every day until the start of the season, we’ll be talking about a Calgary Flames player whose number correlates with how many days there are left.

Yesterday, we talked about a player who was unfortunately and unfairly taken way too soon in a plane crash. That was #4 Brad McCrimmon.

Today, let’s look at a player who, when leaving Calgary, wasn’t exactly a fan-favourite here. With just three days left, let’s look at #3 Dion Phaneuf.

Related Story: 4 days until the season starts - #4 Brad McCrimmon

Who is Dion Phaneuf?

Name: Dion Phaneuf

Birthplace: Edmonton, AB, Canada

Position: D

Shoots: Left

Birthdate: 1985-04-10

Height: 6’3″ / 191 cm

Weight: 99 kg / 219 lbs

Drafted by: Calgary Flames, 9th Overall 2003

Stats with all NHL teams, regular season:

Before being drafted by the Calgary Flames in 2003, Dion Phaneuf was playing with the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL. That season, he had 16 goals and 30 points in 71 regular season games. In the playoffs, he had14 points in 23 games to help them get to the finals.

Phaneuf gained the attention of many scouts for his physical, yet offensive, style of play. Since defensemen usually take longer to develop than forwards, Phaneuf spent a few years down in the WHL. He did, however, go to two World Juniors in that time frame. One in 2004 and one in 2005. In 04, team Canada won the silver medal while Phaneuf posted two goals and four points in six games at the tournament. That season with the Rebels, he was also voted as WHL’s top defenseman.

The following year in 2005 at the World Juniors, this time, Team Canada won the gold medal with Phaneuf was an alternate captain. He had one goal and six points in six games. He was voted as the best defenseman at the tournament and that season again, he won the Bill Hunter Trophy as the WHL’s top defenseman.

The Calgary Flames had seen enough and decided he was ready for the pros. He gained a full-time job with the team in 2005-06 when he signed his first NHL contract. Phaneuf had 20 goals and 59 points in 82 regular season games. He was a runner-up for the Calder that year and he was also eighth in Norris voting, in just his first year in the NHL. In November of that year, he won the rookie of the month.

That season, Phaneuf’s 20 goals made headlines for a couple of reasons. One, it was now a new Calgary Flames franchise record for most goals by a rookie defenceman. And two, at the time, he was only the third player in NHL history to have 20 goals as a rookie defenceman. Wow, good pick, Flames.

Like I said, he was a runner-up for the Calder and he finished in third place in voting. Remember – this was in 2006. You know who else was a rookie in 06 and the two players ahead of him? Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.

Phaneuf continued to improve the next couple of years and by 2007/2008, he was now a top defenceman for the Flames. But then 2008-09 came and he had somewhat of a dip. He was still averaging around 26 minutes a night, but he went from 60 points in 82 games with a +/- of 12 to the next year with 47 points in 80 games and -11.

Related Story: Throwback Thursday - Dion Phaneuf/Matt Stajan trade

So the following year in 2009-10, he was part of a seven-player trade between the Flames and the Toronto Maple Leafs that brought Matt Stajan to Calgary. I’ve brought this up before in a Throwback Thursday we did on this trade, but there were speculations on why he was traded. This is what I mentioned:

"Apparently there were some locker room issues with Phaneuf and the rest of the team. Nobody knows quite what the issues were. TSN’s Darren Dreger said that former Calgary Flames coach Mike Keenan said that Phaneuf was part of some dressing room issues. Flames GM at the time, Darryl Sutter, later came out and confirmed the rumours that there were issues in the locker room. But nobody ever specified what they were.Some rumours were that Robyn Regehr tried to help him with the defensive component of the game and Phaneuf didn’t like that. And of course, there were jokes that the players didn’t like Phaneuf’s music choices in the locker room. Nobody will ever really know for sure, but that didn’t stop Flames fans from booing whenever the Leafs played in Calgary and Phaneuf had the puck.There were also other rumours that his nickname in the locker room was “TwoTwenty”. Apparently, this is because at the time, he had only been in the NHL for two seasons but walked around as if he’d been for twenty years. There were also other reasons circulating like the fact that he weighed 220 lbs and his ego matched his weight. Again, this is all speculation."

So, it was off to Toronto he would go. In his first full season with the Leafs, he was already the captain of the team. Oh, and let’s look at what could have been the most glorious fight if the refs hadn’t jumped in and stopped it.

Like you can see in the stats above, he never quite had the same seasons he had in his first few years in the NHL. And in a rebuilding stage, the Maple Leafs thought it’d be best to part ways with him.

So in 2016 in the middle of the 2015-16 season, Phaneuf was again part of multi-player blockbuster trade, this time with the Ottawa Senators, and this time involving nine players. This is the first time Toronto and Ontario had made a trade in almost twenty years. This past season with the Senators, Phaneuf sports an “A” on his jersey.

Next: Ending preseason with a bang

Most of the guys we’ve talked about how been somewhat of fan-favourites here in Calgary. Yeah, you don’t quite get that with Dion Phaneuf. Expect boos at the Saddledome whenever he touches the puck.