- Kristen Shilton is a national NHL reporter for ESPN.
Dion Phaneuf has called it a career.
The defenseman announced his official retirement from the NHL on Tuesday, after playing 14 seasons and 1,048 games.
Drafted ninth overall by Calgary in 2003, Phaneuf suited up for the Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings. He recorded 137 goals and 494 points, adding another 21 points in 55 playoff games.
“As I look back, it’s hard to encapsulate and thank the great number of people who supported and guided me both as a player and a person throughout my career,” Phaneuf said in a release on Tuesday. “I was very fortunate to play in the NHL for a long time and I’m thankful first and foremost to my mom, dad and brother for their untiring support on and off the ice.”
Phaneuf will get a send-off at the Leafs’ game against Nashville on Tuesday night.
Phaneuf established his physical style early on. Making his NHL debut with Calgary in 2005, Phaneuf led rookie defensemen in goals (20) and points (49) in the 2005-06 season to finish third in Calder Trophy voting.
In 2007-08 Phaneuf was voted to the NHL’s All-Star team and finished second that year in the Norris Trophy race.
Halfway through his fifth season with the Flames, Phaneuf was part of a seven-player swap that sent him to the Maple Leafs. He left Calgary having scored 75 goals and 228 points in 378 games.
Toronto named Phaneuf its 18th captain in franchise history on June 14, 2010. He patrolled the Leafs’ blue line for most of the next six seasons, enduring a roller coaster of drama on and off the ice.
During a particularly rough stretch in 2014, fans began throwing jerseys on the ice at Leafs home games to express their dissatisfaction. Players responded with an incident known as “Salutegate,” in which they refused to acknowledge fans following their 5-2 win over the Lightning on Nov. 20, 2014.
Phaneuf was part of a blockbuster trade between Toronto and Ottawa on Feb. 9, 2016, heading to a Senators team that made a run to the Eastern Conference finals in 2017. That was the closest Phaneuf ever came to reaching a Stanley Cup Final.
The blueliner was traded once more, to the Kings, in February 2018. Phaneuf skated in 93 games for Los Angeles before having his contract bought out in June 2019.
“I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the many coaches, staff and teammates I had the privilege to work alongside through the years,” Phaneuf said in a statement. “My first NHL GM and coach, Darryl Sutter, gave me my start in Calgary and showed me what it takes to be a top player in the NHL; I’m indebted to Brian Burke for bringing me to Toronto and making me captain for one of the most historic franchises in league history; my billets, Dan and Christine Doyle, and so many teammates from the Maple Leafs, Flames, Senators and Kings who will remain friends well past our playing days.
“A great thanks to the entire Toronto Maple Leafs organization, their ownership and leadership — Larry Tanenbaum and Brendan Shanahan — for providing me with this opportunity to retire with such love and support here in Toronto. It was a special honor to represent the Maple Leafs as team captain — a point of pride and honor that I will carry with me forever.”
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