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Phaneuf is active in the community; the Flames honoured Phaneuf for his role as an ambassador to the Alberta Children's Hospital, where he participated in events that help sick and injured children during his time in Calgary.
Phaneuf was a common sight at Toronto events, often appearing at fundraisers, promotional activities or visiting patients at Sick Kids Hospital. Paul Phaneuf maintained a backyard rink each winter that the young Phaneuf practised on.
Phaneuf was named an alternate captain in Toronto nine games after being acquired after Mike Komisarek suffered a season-ending injury.
While Phaneuf 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.
The Maple Leafs, struggling once again, decided to start a rebuild in early 2015.
Thus Phaneuf, a veteran defenceman with a lengthy contract, began being shopped around.
While he earned a James Norris Memorial Trophy nomination for his defensive play in 2008, he struggled enough during the 2008–09 season that some observers began to question his defensive commitment.
Phaneuf's teammates were quick to defend his play and noted that he was among the League leaders in average time on ice per game.
Phaneuf forfeited the amount of US,666.66 for his action.Phaneuf, 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.In junior hockey, Phaneuf 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.