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NHL expansion draft 2017: Senators reportedly trying to trade Dion Phaneuf after he refuses expansion eligibility

Ottawa is trying to untangle a defenseman knot.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this could be a swift end to Dion Phaneuf’s career with the Ottawa Senators.

Days after the defenseman reportedly refused to waive his no-movement clause (so the Senators could expose him to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft), Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports the team is trying to trade him now.

Here’s Garrioch:

Though it’s a long shot, there are teams studying Phaneuf and he has submitted a new list of 12 teams where he can be dealt. League sources say Arizona, New Jersey, Tampa Bay, Colorado, Calgary, Edmonton, Buffalo and San Jose are looking for help on the back end and may have varying degrees of interest in Phaneuf.

Trading Phaneuf will allow the Senators to protect Marc Methot and Cody Ceci. Right now, with Phaneuf automatically protected with his NMC, one of them would need to be exposed in the draft. And considering Ceci is the younger, it would be Methot. As Garrioch points out, if the Senators can’t move Phaneuf, they may try to deal picks to Vegas to keep it from drafting Methot.

But as TSN insider Darren Dreger points out, Phaneuf’s massive cap hit ($7 million through 2020-21) is already making trade talks difficult.

This whole saga is a good example of the mess teams are trying to untangle themselves from ahead of Saturday’s 3 p.m. ET roster freeze. Remember that Ottawa traded a small fortune for Phaneuf just a year ago.

We’ll see how it unfolds; either Phaneuf, Methot, or Ceci will be on a new team by Sunday.