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NHLers Agree, Dion Phaneuf Is Most Overrated

Apr 1, 2010 – 2:00 PM
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This should give hopeful fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs something to think about.

In a poll of 272 anonymous NHL players conducted by Sports Illustrated and published in its latest issue, hard-hitting defenceman Dion Phaneuf was named the "Most Overrated Player" in the league.

The 24-year-old Leaf blueliner captured the title by taking a whopping 21 per cent of the vote. Trailing far behind were the Rangers' Wade Redden (7 per cent), the Canadiens' Scott Gomez (6 per cent), and Phaneuf's arch-nemesis Sean Avery (5 per cent), also of the Rangers.

The survey may come as a shock to many Leaf fans, who've watched their team rebound ever since Phaneuf arrived in town via a blockbuster seven-player deal with the Calgary Flames. The Leafs have gone 11-8-2 with Phaneuf anchoring the back-end.

His steady play and leadership in Toronto has even sparked talk of Phaneuf taking up the vacant captaincy next season.

But the highly paid defenceman, who notched 20 goals with the Flames in his rookie campaign of 2005-06, has yet to score in the blue-and-white and is a minus-3. Despite earning $6.5 million (US) this season, Phaneuf has only put up a total of 29 points over 76 games.

His struggles over the last couple of seasons in Calgary also played a key factor in him becoming expendable just before the trade deadline this year.

Still, the fact he isn't getting much love from his peers doesn't seem to bother Phaneuf, a player known for his bravado and in-your-face personality on and off the ice.

"Everyone's got their own opinion," Phaneuf told the Toronto Star. "It comes with the territory of being a well-known player.... It doesn't hurt my feelings any."
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