As it turns out, being one of “the other guys” in a blockbuster trade featuring one major star isn’t quite as glamorous as you’d think. Last season, the Toronto Maple Leafs sent a package of players to the Calgary Flames to obtain defenseman Dion Phaneuf. Matthew Stajan, Niklas Hagman, and Ian White all headed to Calgary in the deal, and Stajan is frankly tired of always having to hear about Dion Phaneuf.
“No matter what, everybody in Toronto’s going to say that. People will say, ‘Dion’s the best player and Toronto won the trade’ but people can say what they want,” said Stajan, who was part of the deal along with current Flames Ian White and Niklas Hagman. “But there are three of us here who are quality NHL players and we want to make sure we’re proving that we’re a big part of the deal.
“I really don’t listen to that stuff, but growing up in Toronto and living there in the summer, there’s a lot of hype. That’s just the way Toronto is. I’ve seen it before and all the best to them.”
All Stajan has to do to get people to stop obsessing over Dion Phaneuf is to score lots of goals from Calgary’s second or third line. With Olli Jokinen in Calgary now there’s virtually no chance that he’ll get to center on Jarome Iginla’s line. Calgary does have an opening on the second line, however, with Daymond Langkow continuing to be out with a neck injury. Getting to play alongside 27 goal-scorer Rene Bourque and fellow trade-mate Nik Hagman could be the kind of boost that helps Stajan out.
Then again, with the way things seem to go, Phaneuf could also have a rejuvenated season in Toronto and continue to keep Stajan, Hagman, and White buried in the news. Having a trade work out well for both teams is rare enough, but having it work out for two teams that have gotten as much negative press as the Flames and Leafs have would be nothing short of amazing.