|Born||April 10, 1985 |
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight||214 lb (97 kg; 15 st 4 lb)|
Toronto Maple Leafs
|NHL Draft||9th overall, 2003|
He has previously also played for the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs. Dion was drafted ninth overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames.
Playing Career[edit | edit source]
Junior Playing Career[edit | edit source]
The Red Deer Rebels selected Dion in the third round of the 2000 WHL Bantam Draft. One year later, he joined the Rebels for the 2001–02 season and recorded 17 points in 67 games.
He added two assists in 21 games as the Rebels lost in the WHL Final against the Kootenay Ice. He improved to 16 goals and 30 points in 2002–03 as the Rebels again reached the WHL Finals, again losing, this time to the Kelowna Rockets.
Dion's development earned him comparisons to Hall of Famer Scott Stevens, as he was lauded by scouts for his physical style and ability to excel both defensively and offensively.
Then-Calgary Flames General Manager Darryl Sutter valued him so highly in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft that he attempted to trade up from his ninth overall selection in the Draft, though to no avail. Nonetheless, he was able to select Dion with Calgary's first selection in the draft.
Dion established himself as the junior hockey team's top player following the draft, earning the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the top defenceman in the WHL. He was also named an Eastern Conference All-Star by the WHL, and a First Team All-Star by the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).
Dion was considered a candidate to join the Flames in 2004, but due to the 2004-05 NHL lockout, he was forced to play one final year of junior hockey.
He scored 56 points in 55 games to finish his junior career with 146 total points. He repeated as the WHL's Defenceman of the Year, and was again named to both WHL and CHL All-Star Teams.
Prospects Hockey rated Dion as the top player in the CHL in both 2004 and 2005, ahead of Sidney Crosby, naming him one of the best junior defencemen of the previous decade.
Calgary Flames[edit | edit source]
Dion joined the Flames for the 2005–06 NHL season after signing his first professional contract in September of 2005. He made his NHL debut on October 5, 2005, against the Minnesota Wild.
Five nights later, he scored his first career goal, assist and points against the Colorado Avalanche.
Dion was named the NHL's Rookie of the Month for November after leading all rookie defencemen with nine points and two game-winning goals. By January, he was being named alongside Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin as a candidate for the NHL's top rookie.
Dion finished the season with 20 goals, only the third player in NHL history after Brian Leetch and Barry Beck to score 20 as a rookie defenceman. His 20 goals also broke the Flames franchise record for goals by a rookie defenseman, surpassing Gary Suter's total of 18.
Dion was named a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as top rookie, but lost out to Ovechkin.
A 50-point sophomore season earned Dion his first NHL All-Star Game appearance in 2006–07.
He participated in the hardest shot competition at the SuperSkills competition, losing to Zdeno Chára and scored a goal and an assist in the game itself to help the Western Conference defeat the East 12–9.
The Flames signed Dion to a six-year, US$39 million contract extension midway through the 2007–08 season. He responded by posting a career-high 60 points, and was voted into the starting lineup by the fans for the 2008 All-Star Game.
Dion was named to the NHL First All-Star Team following the season, and was a finalist for the James Norris Memorial Trophy as defenceman of the year, losing to the Detroit Red Wings' Nicklas Lidstrom.
The 2008–09 season was a frustrating one for Dion, as he recorded a career-low 11 goals and 47 points and his poor plus-minus rating of –11 led fans to question his defensive commitment. His poor season and high salary also led to speculation that he might be traded.
In spite of his struggles, he averaged 26 minutes and 31 seconds of ice time per game, the fourth highest in the League.
Dion missed the final game of the Flames' 2009 Stanley Cup playoff Western Quarter-final series against the Chicago Blackhawks with broken rib after battling a hip injury during the regular season. The Flames management defended him, claiming that the injuries he battled affected his play.
Toronto Maple Leafs[edit | edit source]
On February 2, 2010, Dion made his Toronto Maple Leaf debut, leading all Maple Leafs players in time on ice and ended the night with a fight and given second star of the game honours.
He would record his first point, an assist, four nights later in a game against the Ottawa Senators and scored his first goal as a Leaf on April 7, 2010, on Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers.
Dion was named an alternate captain in Toronto nine games after being acquired after Mike Komisarek suffered from a season-ending injury. While he struggled offensively to begin his tenure in Toronto, he played 25 games in Toronto before scoring his first goal.
Then-Leafs Head Coach Ron Wilson credited him with creating a positive change in the mood in the Toronto dressing room.
On November 2, 2010, in a game against the Ottawa Senators, Dion sustained an injury in the leg by having it cut open with a skate from Peter Regin while crashing into the boards. He was carried off the ice immediately and had surgery done the same night.
Dion was said to be off the ice for four-to-six weeks, and made a return to the Leafs' lineup on December 9, 2010, a home ice game against the Philadelphia Flyers, which Philadelphia won 4–1, though he had one assist on the lone Toronto goal.
On January 5, 2012, it was announced that Dion would compete in his third All-Star Game, having finished second amongst all defencemen on the fan ballot, gaining 614,933 votes, behind the Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson.
On April 21, 2013, Dion and the Leafs clinched a Stanley Cup playoff spot, the first time for Phaneuf since the 2008–09 season with the Calgary Flames.
On December 10, 2013, Dion received a two-game suspension on a boarding hit on Boston Bruins defenceman Kevan Miller which occurred on December 8, 2013, in Toronto. He forfeited the amount of US$66,666.66 for his action.
Ottawa Senators[edit | edit source]
After parts of seven seasons with Toronto, Dion was dealt to the Ottawa Senators on February 9, 2016, in a blockbuster nine-player trade.
Both fans and media alike viewed the trade with shock, as a significant deal between the arch-rivals was viewed as very unlikely to happen.
Dion, Matt Frattin, prospects Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghey were sent to the Senators in exchange for Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, prospect Tobias Lindberg and Ottawa's 2017 second round draft pick.
Due to the Battle of Ontario rivalry, this was the first time the Maple Leafs and Senators had made a trade since March 17, 1998 when Per Gustafsson was shipped to Ottawa in exchange for an 8th round pick.
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
Regular season and playoffs[edit | edit source]
|2001–02||Red Deer Rebels||WHL||67||5||12||17||170||21||0||2||2||14|
|2002–03||Red Deer Rebels||WHL||71||16||14||30||185||23||7||7||14||34|
|2003–04||Red Deer Rebels||WHL||62||19||24||43||126||19||2||9||11||30|
|2004–05||Red Deer Rebels||WHL||55||24||32||56||73||7||1||4||5||12|
|2009–10||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||26||2||8||10||34||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||66||8||22||30||88||—||—||—||—||—|
|2011–12||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||82||12||32||44||92||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||48||9||19||28||65||7||1||2||3||6|
|2013–14||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||80||8||23||31||144||—||—||—||—||—|
|2014–15||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||70||3||26||29||108||—||—||—||—||—|
|2015–16||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||51||3||21||24||67||—||—||—||—||—|
International[edit | edit source]
All-Star Games[edit | edit source]
International Play[edit | edit source]
Dion made his international debut for the Canadian junior team at the 2004 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Helsinki, earning a leadership role under Head Coach Mario Durocher.
A devastating bodycheck to the Czech Republic's Rostislav Olesz led the referee to eject him from the semi-final game; he was not suspended, however, and played in the gold medal game.
The Canadians lost the final to the United States while Dion was named a tournament All-Star at defence.
The Canadian team at the 2005 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships dominated the tournament, outscoring their opposition 35–6 in the games leading up to the gold medal match-up with Russia.
Dion scored a goal and threw a memorable bodycheck that knocked down two Russian players in the championship game as Canada routed the Russians 6–1 to win their first gold medal in eight years. He was again named a tournament All-Star, as well as being named the outstanding defenceman of the tournament.
Following the Flames' elimination in the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs, Phaneuf joined the Canadian senior team at the 2007 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships in Moscow. He recorded eight assists in seven games to help Canada win the gold medal over Finland.
Once considered a virtual lock to join team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Dion's struggles in the 2008–09 season placed his candidacy in doubt.
Team Canada General Manager Steve Yzerman continued to express confidence in Phaneuf during a summer camp held in Calgary, but Dion was not among the seven defencemen ultimately selected for the team.
After the Leafs missed the 2011 playoffs, Dion served as alternate captain of Team Canada at the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Bratislava, Slovakia where Canada finished fifth.
Dion was once again alternate captain of the Canadian team at the 2012 World Championship in Sochi, Russia. Canada repeated its fifth-place finish of the prior year.
In August of 2013, Dion attended the summer orientation camp for Team Canada in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics, but he was not named to the final Olympic roster.
Accolades[edit | edit source]
|WHL Eastern Conference All-Star Team||2003–04|
|CHL First All-Star team||2003–04|
|Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy||2003–04|
|National Hockey League|
|All-Rookie Team||2005-06||NHL All-Rookie Team|
|All-Star Game||2007, 2008, 2012|
|Elimination Shootout||2008||NHL All-Star Game SuperSkills Competition|
|First Team All-Star||2007–08|
|Calgary Flames team awards|
|Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award||2007–08|
|World Junior All-Star team||2004|
|World Junior Directorate Award for Best Defenceman||2005|
Playing Style[edit | edit source]
In junior hockey, Dion was known not only for his physical presence, but also his calm demeanour and offensive ability. He was compared to Hockey Hall of Famer Scott Stevens by his former coach, Brent Sutter.
Scouts praised his defensive ability, and the poise he showed at both ends of the ice. Praised for his leadership abilities, Phaneuf was named the captain of Team WHL at the 2004 ATD Canada-Russia Challenge, and was counted upon to take a leadership role with the Canadian junior team at the 2004 and 2005 World Junior Championships.
Entering his sophomore season, Dion's potential impact on a game was compared to that of Russian star Alexander Ovechkin and a poll released by ESPN in 2008 revealed that 43% of players asked argued Phaneuf was the hardest hitter in hockey, at the age of 22.
Dion was named an alternate captain by the Flames at the start of the 2008–09 season, though Brent Sutter chose to alternate amongst a group of veterans (including him) in 2009–10.
While he earned a James Norris Memorial Trophy nomination for his defensive play in 2008, Dion struggled enough during the 2008–09 season that some observers began to question his defensive commitment.
His teammates were quick to defend his play and noted that he was among the League leaders in average time on ice per game. His hitting game has also earned criticism at times.
The New York Islanders were especially upset at an open-ice charge Dion delivered to Kyle Okposo during a 2009 exhibition game that resulted in the latter suffering a concussion. He has also been criticized for occasionally refusing to fight opponents who challenge him after throwing a big hit.
For his part, Dion stated he does not believe that he should be forced to fight after every big hit, though he would do so when necessary. His coaches have praised his mentality.
Dion has also been accused of playing "dirty" and "stupid" by opponents who feel that he occasionally takes unnecessary liberties with opposing players.
A 2010 Sports Illustrated poll of 229 NHL players saw 21% of respondents name Dion as the most overrated player in the NHL, three times as many votes as any other player.
He dismissed the poll while several of his current and former teammates expressed their disagreement with the result.
Personal Life[edit | edit source]
Dion began dating Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert in May of 2008.
Their relationship became the centre of controversy in December of 2008 when then-Dallas Stars forward Sean Avery, who had dated Cuthbert in the past, commented on how other NHL players (such as Dion) as well as Los Angeles Kings' center Jarret Stoll, who was dating model Rachel Hunter (another ex-girlfriend) fell in love with his "sloppy seconds."
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman referred to the remarks as "disgusting" and subsequently suspended Avery six games; the Stars later cut ties with Avery.
In September of 2012, Dion and Elisha announced their engagement and they married on July 6, 2013, at St. James Catholic Church in Summerfield, Prince Edward Island.
Living in Toronto during the hockey season, the couple spends their summers at Dion's waterfront estate outside of New London, Prince Edward Island, in his parents' home province.
While with the Flames, Dion was the official ambassador to the Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary and donated tickets to Flames games to help families at the facility.
The Flames named him the recipient of the Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award in 2008 in recognition of his participation with the Children's Hospital.
He has appeared on the cover of the NHL 09 video game and played a role in NHL promotions and commercials.
Dion is a fourth cousin of Canadian figure skater Cynthia Phaneuf.