SPORTS
12/31/2013 10:09 EST | Updated 03/02/2014 05:59 EST

Dion Phaneuf agrees to 7-year contract extension with Leafs

Dion Phaneuf can clear his mind of any contract issues entering Wednesday’s Winter Classic in Detroit.

The Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday announced they have signed the veteran defenceman to a seven-year contract extension worth $49 million US.

“This is a very proud day for me and my family,” said Phaneuf in a statement released by the NHL team. “I’m very honoured to be the captain of this historic franchise and to maintain the opportunity to play and represent the Toronto Maple Leafs for many years to come.

"We have passionate fans and a dedicated ownership group. I have great teammates and look forward to growing with them and achieving our goal of winning.”

The 28-year-old tops the Maple Leafs with a plus-13 rating this season and is second in scoring to Cody Franson (20 points) in scoring among defencemen with 15 points on four goals and 11 assists.

Phaneuf, who regularly plays against the opposition's best forwards, leads all Maple Leafs in ice time, averaging 24 minutes 21 seconds in the first half of this season.

"Dion is our team leader and has been a pillar in our building process,” said Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis. “He has proven to be a very durable and reliable defenceman in all facets of the game. He plays big minutes in every situation for us and we’re pleased to have him under contract for the next seven seasons.”

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