Picking up the torch started by De Graa55...
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis was convinced that a team would give defenseman Dion Phaneuf a seven-year contract if he made it to the unrestricted free agent market on July 1. He figured that team should be the Maple Leafs, and there's no reason to wait until the calendar flips to 2014.
Phaneuf and Nonis jointly announced the team captain's seven-year contract extension at a press conference Tuesday before the Maple Leafs practiced at Michigan Stadium in advance of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC).
Financial terms of the contract were not released, but media reports place the average annual value at $7 million. Nonis indicated that it's a market-value contract for a top defenseman who is 28 years old and in his ninth NHL season.
Good thing that rumour about the possibility of a raise in the cap came about; if not, this contract might have looked a lot different.