Cody Franson willing to play on a one-year deal

Cam Charron
September 19 2013 08:52AM

With the current cap situation we're in I personally think a one-year would suit the team the best. You know, they've got a little bit of a crunch on numbers and you know, I'm just trying to make it happen for both sides.

Until any deal is signed or Dave Nonis goes on record to talk numbers, I'm not going to get into the prices that the Leafs are offering. When negotiations are concerned, a lot of talk that is meant to stay private go public, and it leads to a lot of fans believing that opening offers are indicative of what a player expects. Remember when Nazem Kadri reportedly wanted a six-year deal for $6-million and then wound up taking less than half of that for one-third the contract length?

Yeah…

The above quote is from Cody Franson, via TSN's outdated video player that doesn't let you embed links. He was with Mark Masters yesterday after practicing with the Ryerson Rams at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. You may know that building better as Maple Leaf Gardens (if you have a chance to go to a Rams game, or scrimmage at the facility, I highly recommend it. It's an awesome place).

Anyway, I thought it was refreshing to hear it straight from the horse's mouth. Franson is resigned to a shorter-term contract. There's some speculation as to why Franson never filed for arbitration this summer and it's become accepted that it's because he didn't want to risk playing on another one-year deal. Frankly, he's a player that has paid his dues and deserves a bit of stability, so I don't hold it against him for holding out.

From the Maple Leafs perspective, I kind of have to wonder what the thinking is. Franson has two more years until he's unrestricted, so a one-year deal means that the Leafs get another summer of negotiating rights. If Franson turns out to be the real deal on defence, he's a player you can look at to give a bigger role to if, hypothetically, you don't get Dion Phaneuf signed by this summer. The salary cap is in a crunch year this season, but should increase to higher than 2012-2013 numbers this upcoming for the 2014-2015 season so there will be a little bit more money to throw around in regards to an extension.

If the Leafs go with 13 forwards and 7 defencemen, that means they'll have $2.9-million to work with if they demote John-Michael Liles (only $925K of his salary cap hit will come off of the Leafs' books), and $2.7-million if they demote Korbinian Holzer. It is theoretically plausible that the team gets something done without having to move anybody but that would involve Franson biting the bullet and playing for less than he's worth, with the team right up against the cap.

There's a good chance I see the one-year deal as preferable because I like Cody Franson so much and I'm paying closer attention to his interests than the Leafs'. I can see where they'd be unwilling to give Cody another year of arbitration rights, and locking him up could save money for the summer of 2014 where they need to open the chequebooks for Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, or Phaneuf and Kessel's replacements. Only 11 players are signed past this season (and two of them are Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren) so obtaining some semblance of stability is important.

But I just don't see where it's preferable to sign Franson to two years at this point rather than four or five, especially if he's willing to come aboard at a reduced cost because he wants the long-term deal. I'm sticking with the original plan here: sign him to a one-year deal at the highest you can while also leaving space to waive McLaren and sign Mason Raymond, and agree to an extension to be signed January 1st. Everybody's happy there.

It's not like Franson doesn't want to be a Leaf, it's that the Leafs completely mismanaged their cap this summer and now Franson has resigned himself to making the situation work this year. I'd give him something back for the service.

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 James
September 19 2013, 09:08AM
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I saw this on Twitter and thought "oh look, a legitimate article about Franson, there might be real sources here who know what they're talking about!"

Then I realized the link was from The Leafs Nation.

Oops.

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#3 nonikhanna
September 19 2013, 12:29PM
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Possible to demote both Liles and holzer?? Clear some more cap space to sign Franson, maybe even Raymond. If we demote them both, we have Phaneuf, gunnarson, gardiner, Fraser, Brennan, ranger, and then if we sign Franson that's 7 defenseman on the roster. And we also got Raymond. Possibly on the 3rd line???

That would be a very successful offseason. Upto the cap maybe even 500k remaining. And ya done. Maybe Liles might even be claimed off waivers!!! If we are lucky haha

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#4 Luc Gambino
September 19 2013, 03:42PM
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James wrote:

I saw this on Twitter and thought "oh look, a legitimate article about Franson, there might be real sources here who know what they're talking about!"

Then I realized the link was from The Leafs Nation.

Oops.

Haha exactly!

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#5 Back in Black
September 19 2013, 09:56AM
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@James

...Cody Franson not being a "real" source for issues related to Cody Franson...

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#6 deaner
September 19 2013, 12:26PM
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Good read. Franson will sign.. it's just a matter of time.

And I agree that Holzer will get demoted. Given that he has a 2 year contract, he should clear waivers easily. We mock Leafs management, but that's probably why they wisely give 2 year contracts to their "send them down in a heartbeat" players (Holzer... Orr... McLaren).

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#7 chuck
September 20 2013, 07:36AM
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Ammar Hussain wrote:

JVR - Bozak - Kessel Lupul - Kadri - Clarkson Raymond (0.925K) - Bolland - Kuliemen Mclaren - Mclement - Colburne

Demote: Orr Smith

Phaneuf - Gunnarson Gardiner - Liles Ranger - Franson

Demote

With demoting Orr, Smith, Holzer and Signing Raymond to 0.925K we will have 3.3 Mill in capspace, good enough for Franson

The Leafs will need at least - 1 scratched forward and 1 scratched Dman in case of game day injuries.

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#8 Ammar Hussain
September 19 2013, 05:33PM
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@nonikhanna

JVR - Bozak - Kessel Lupul - Kadri - Clarkson Raymond (0.925K) - Bolland - Kuliemen Mclaren - Mclement - Colburne

Demote: Orr Smith

Phaneuf - Gunnarson Gardiner - Liles Ranger - Franson

Demote

With demoting Orr, Smith, Holzer and Signing Raymond to 0.925K we will have 3.3 Mill in capspace, good enough for Franson

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#9 Hoogy
September 20 2013, 11:05AM
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That has been the sticking point all along with this negotiation. Franson wants a one year and the Leafs 2years because the Leafs have a lot of players to deal with this coming year and they do not want to negotiate long term with Franson along with Kessel, Phaneuf, Riemer and a bunch of others.

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#10 Grabovskeet
September 20 2013, 01:41PM
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I spoke to several people that are quite experienced in contract negotiations, and what have been saying is that the Leafs have Franson over a barrel. Arbitration, offer sheets and not playing are essentially the only bargaining chips left to RFAs. He failed to file for arbitration, his offer sheets would better benefit the Leafs, and the Leafs have some depth at defence to fill in for the (obviously not up to his ability, but still some good depth).

As for the Leafs, they don't want to give Franson his arbitration rights next year, essentially because they don't have to. He may have earned a higher price tag, but his representatives made the decision to neglect filing for arbitration, and the Leafs see the opportunity to get a cheap year with a very strong player. If he's going to sign a one year, the Leafs are forcing a very cheap price tag. They have the bargaining power, and for that reason, they're going to win these negotiations.

Just for clarity's sake, though, do we have the legal right to bury Liles' contract in the AHL, or does he have a no-move clause? Wouldn't burying Liles' contract give us the opportunity to sign both Raymond and Franson at fair prices with a couple loonies to spare? What's Liles' contract situation like?

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#11 Killawatt
September 20 2013, 05:18PM
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Franson will eventually sign (like Kadri did), and take a salary and term that is befitting of his experience, contributions and status. Then Toronto will move a d-man down to make way for Franson on the roster and the money will balance out.

If we can all see how the numbers will work, how has the cap been "mismanaged" exactly?

There are 6 teams over the cap right now, including Detroit, Boston, Pittsburgh and LA. Have those cup winning GM's stopped being good at their job and mismanaged the cap as well? Or is it just Nonis who has thus far screwed up?

Franson is an RFA and does not have negotiating leverage. We see GM's time and time again play hardball with athletes at this stage of their career because, well, they can. And they should. If PK Subban can play for less than $3M than so can Franson.

It's just a matter of him deciding he's had enough of watching camp from his computer screen.

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