Originally written on Kukla's Korner  |  Last updated 10/23/14

TORONTO - SEPTEMBER 27: Dion Phaneuf of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets his game face on during warmup before a preseason NHL game at the Air Canada Centre September 27, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet, If Dion Phaneuf — a pending unrestricted free agent when the puck drops on the 2013-14 season — doesn’t have a deal by July 1, he could find himself in a position of power on the open market. But if the defenceman’s stance Tuesday is truthful, he’d be happy to settle things sooner. “I want to be part of the Toronto Maple Leafs for a long time. I love playing in the city, but the business side will take care of itself,” Phaneuf said at the Leafs and Legends Charity Gold Classic, the club’s annual pre-training-camp get-together. “I’m sure that we’ll get something done.” Despite garnering mixed reviews as a top-one blue-liner, when it comes to guys at his position entering a contract year, Phaneuf, 28, may well be the most valuable NHL defenceman under the age of 30. And if the salary cap rises sharply in response to this summer’s belt-tightening, as is expected, Phaneuf could benefit from a bidding war. continued
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