The Maple Leafs are planning on having formal contract talks with Phaneuf and his agents in the near future, according to the Toronto Sun, but official negotiations haven't started yet.
"Don't read too much into (the reports) ... yet," a source familiar with the process told the Sun, adding that the two sides have merely "kicked tires" at this point.
Phaneuf, 28, is making $5.5 million this season, though his salary cap hit is $6.5 million. He's in the final year of a six-year, $39 million deal and can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Edmonton native wouldn't discuss the matter publicly, when asked by the Sun.
"I'm leaving that to my representatives at Newport Sports," Phaneuf said. "That's just the business part of the sport."
Though the Leafs are up against the salary cap now, the cap is expected to jump to at least $70 million next season, giving the team more room to secure its players.
Selected ninth-overall by the Calgary Flames in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Phaneuf hasn't tallied more than 44 points since joining the Leafs during the 2009-10 season.
It was widely speculation that the Leafs were not interested in signing Phaneuf to a deal worth more than $6 million per year, but it's unclear where they currently stand on the subject.
Neither party seems to be rushing to get a deal done, but the lines of communication are open.