The additions of general manager Lou Lamoriello, coach Mike Babcock and a revamped roster have Phaneuf excited for training camp to start next week.
"As players, you can use the term 'feed off of' or 'energy' or whatever word you want to pick but there’s a lot of excitement," Phaneuf said.
Phaneuf explained that as soon as Babcock was named coach he reached out to every player to formally introduce himself and reiterate his expectations for the team.
"You could feel the energy right through the phone," Phaneuf said. "He’s got that energy about him and focus and drive, and as a player, you want to play for a guy like that."
The coach and the captain have talked plenty of times during the offseason and recently sat down to discuss the upcoming season.
When the Leafs traded Phil Kessel, some thought Phaneuf could also be on the trading block. But the organization made the commitment to stick with its captain and Babcock went out of his way to support Phaneuf.
"I want to be part of this," Phaneuf said. "Mike’s a very structured coach, detailed-oriented coach and we’re going to want to get better every day. With structure, and with our work ethic, as players, that’s our job. I want to be part of it and that’s why I’m here and I look forward to being part of it."
Despite the Maple Leafs rebuilding their organization in an attempt to return it to prominence, Phaneuf wants a winning culture this season in Toronto.
"We’re going to come and we’re going to work every day and we want to get better every day," he said. "Mike has said that too and that’s our plan as a team. When we put the work in, and come to work every day to get better as a team, we’ll see where that takes us. All I can say is we’re going to put the work in."