July 30 2013 08:50AM
The Toronto Maple Leafs have locked up Mark Fraser for the 2013-14 season.
Sportsnet 590 the Fan reporter Matt Brown broke the whole morning's events. Here's how the deal went down...
First, there was this:
#Leafs and Mark Fraser meeting this morning ahead of arbitration hearing to try and get a deal. Doesn't sound hopeful though— Matt Brown (@mbrownSN590) July 30, 2013
This made it seem like Fraser's arbitration hearing could be long and unpleasant. After all, it was just two days ago that Darren Dreger reporter that while Mark Fraser's camp was asking for $2 million, the Leafs counterted with an offer of just $855,000. I'm not expert negotiator, but I'm assuming asking for more than double what the other party is offering is usually an indicator that things aren't going so well.
But then this happened...
Dave Nonis and Mark Fraser speaking 1 on 1 right now in hotel lobby— Matt Brown (@mbrownSN590) July 30, 2013
A sign that Nonis and Fraser could be reaching an agreement outside of arbitration?
#Leafs sign Mark Fraser to a one-year $1.275 deal— Matt Brown (@mbrownSN590) July 30, 2013
Yes sir! For those of you playing GM at home, here are the defencemen the Leafs have committed to for next season:
- Dion Phaneuf - $6.5 million, 1 year remaining.
- John-Michael Liles - $3.875 million, 3 years remaining.
- Carl Gunnarsson - $3.150 million, 3 years remaining.
- Mark Fraser - $1.275 million, 1 year remaining.
- Jake Gardiner - $1,1116,667 million cap hit in the final year of his Entry Level Contract.
- Paul Ranger - $1 million, 1 year remaining.
- Korbinian Holzer - $787,5000, 2 years remaining
Let's also remember that there is the ever-evolving story of Morgan Reilly. It would seem next to impossible for the 19-year-old to make this upcoming season's Leafs squad unless he proves to be the second coming of Ray Bourque already. Then there's also defenceman T.J. Brennen whom the Leafs signed this summer, and prospects like Jesse Blacker and Stuart Percy, and more waiting in the wings.
Who's missing? Oh, that's right - Cody Franson. Oh, and Nazem Kadri up front.
I certainly won't criticize the Mark Fraser signing. I know he wasn't everybody's favourite, but I enjoyed the toughness he brought to the Leafs' back end. Bet you didn't think you'd hear that from me, did ya?
The more pressing issue is that the Leafs now have just under $5 million to sign both Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson. How are they going to do that? Well, the answer is that they may not have to. Cody Franson has been rumoured to be in trade talks, and at this point, how could he not be?
Two important details on the Fraser deal before you stop reading. First, this update on the gruesome facial injury Fraser suffered during Game 4 against Boston.
Mark Fraser also said this morning his head is fine and he's 100% after fracturing his skull against Boston in the playoffs.— Matt Brown (@mbrownSN590) July 30, 2013
And this salary cap information, should the Leafs find themselves in a pinch, which they're already kind of in.
Fraser for 1.275 means we can dump him in the AHL and only have 0.375 as a cap hit. Not great, not terrible.— Chemmy (@felixpotvin) July 30, 2013
There aren't many shoes left to drop, folks. The Leafs must get Franson and Kadri signed, or face the prospect of losing them. Buckle up.
To end on a nicer note than "buckle up," here is an excellent piece on Mark Fraser by Elliotte Friedman from this past season. Difinitely worth a watch.