You ahve to take into consideration, that Dion takes quite a lot of unnecessary penalties. Don't know if many of them led to a goal, but being on the penalty kill is always bad. That is the only knock I have on Dion as of know. Hope he will mature a bit.
Phaneuf also plays the role of agitator that alone will lead to penalties... but a large number of his PIM were fighting majors which do not leave his team shorthanded
Thank you for actually even bothering to mention the best players in the NW.
He didn't play the best players in the NW division. He watched from the bench as Regehr played them.
Actually, Svatos and Marleau are more like the top-end of competition he faced day-in and day-out.
I don't see how you can be second in TOI in the league and still be playing sheltered minutes. Just because Regehr does it slightly better, doesn't mean Phaneuf can't do a hell of a job. Phaneuf plays in all situations; when the game is on the line, you can bet your money that Phaneuf is out there.
I hate to bring intangibles in here but those are something Phaneuf possesses. He is a pest, he absolutley loves getting under the skin of the oppoition and he does a great job. He's also vocal and is a leader (from what I have seen).
He's sheltered because he's hidden from talented forwards in favor of Regehr and Sarich. Whether or not he would be playing these players on a team without Regehr (which, it stands to reason, would make him less effective) doesn't matter because he doesn't.
And you know what, I would defer to the writers if it was close. It wasn't. His votes came heavily perpetrated on a myth; that he is somehow an elite defensive defenceman because he makes Sportscentre every night with a huge hit or a big fight, which is all the majority of the boys out east see anyway (and they prove it every year).
He plays butter minutes for a player at his supposed level and allowed more offense per 60 minutes of ice-time against then the players who are matched up against the best.
And I refuse to quantify his defensive responsibility with ice-time. Daniel Tjarnqvist led the 06/07 Oilers in average TOI with 23 minutes a game, doesn't mean he was a better defenseman then Smith, Staios, Hejda or Gilbert.
Hell, even the players think he's overrated (he got 3rd on The Sun's anonymous player poll in the overrated section).