No, It’s a Bad Idea

If you were on here yesterday, Steve wrote an article weighing the positives and negatives of a Cody Franson trade (which Darren Dreger suggests the Leafs are looking at due to a lack of cap space). His eventual conclusion was that there is the Leafs should probably give in and do it, because despite his talents, there’s potential return. Plus, they don’t appear to have much of a choice. On the other hand, I believe that this is a worse situation than it already appears to be, and whatever happens, it will be laced in regret. I present my argument in a shuffled version of the Five W’s: 

What Are You Giving Up?

Cody Franson was one of the league’s better offensive defencemen this year.

  • Franson finished eighth in points among defencemen. To give you an idea of how crazy that is, every other person in the Top 40 other than Brent Burns (who spent this year as a forward and does not count) played at least two more minutes per game than him, and he was scratched for three games.
  • "He’s a powerplay specialist!" is the response of most people when they hear that. The retort they don’t expect? Bring the numbers to 5-on-5 only, and Franson is third (again, minus Burns), in even strength points. Though he also finished second behind PK Subban in 5-on-4 points per 60, so yes, he’s good on the man advantage.
  • He had career low in even strength shooting percentage this year, finishing last on the team out of anybody who scored a goal at 2.6%. To go with that, about half of his shots missed the net or were blocked, making a shot attempt into a goal less than 1.5% of the time. This is bad, with previous ESS%’s of 6.8, 4.4, and 6.9%, but that’s a blessing in disguise. The Leafs were an incredibly lucky team when it came to shooting percentage last year, and an evening out (regression to the mean) is inevitable. Franson, on the other hand, is more likely to go up, an asset you’d like to keep in a situation like this.
  • The Leafs took their second most shots for with him on the ice, were right in the middle of shots against, and had their second highest percentage of shots (highest if you don’t count Jake Gardiner’s iffy sample size).
  • Franson was good at advancing the puck into the offensive zone, starting 45.9% of shifts in the offensive zone, and finishing 49% of them there.
  • For those obsessive about the TV-loved statistics, Franson quietly managed to rank third on the Leafs in hits behind Mark Fraser and Dion Phaneuf, which is most impressive when you consider how few penalties he got in the process (just 4 minors for 8 penalty minutes the entire season). He also had nearly as many puck interactions (Giveaways+Takeaways) as Dion Phaneuf while being more likely to take it away than any Leafs defenceman (by percentage and by raw numbers, leading the team with 21).
  • Franson lead all Leafs defencemen in points in the playoffs with 6, which was good for 11th in the league despite not escaping round one. His Game 7 recovery from an early mistake would be talked out fondly if it wasn’t for the fact it happened during Game 7.
  • Beyond all of this, we’re talking about an offensive defencemen that will be entering the season at just 26 years old, that seems to be coming in his own. This is an opportunity to lock such a player into a decent length term, and it can’t be used due to poor asset management. 
  • On a team where the coach believes that you should play the side of your handedness, Franson is easily the Leafs’ best right-handed defenceman. An exception is obviously made for Carl Gunnarsson because he’s the only one who can keep up with Dion Phaneuf, but Franson should for all intents and purposes be a lock for the second spot.

Why Are You Giving Him Up?

Simply put, the Leafs went from having the second most cap space in the NHL to crisis mode in three weeks. That must be some sort of record, which surely comes with a trophy that resembles Paul Holmgren. In any event, the Leafs currently have 12 forwards, 6 defencemen, and 2 goalies on the roster, with $6,170,833 in cap space and three restricted free agents to sign.

Just for arguments sake, let’s send Korbinian Holzer to the Marlies (he’d have to clear waivers, though), and  do the same with Trevor Smith. This frees $1,287,500 more, which gives you $7,458,333 to work with to sign Nazem Kadri, Cody Franson, and Mark Fraser. You also have to pick your most NHL ready forward out of the Marlies. 

Fraser has to return to the team. Simply put, unless the Leafs sabotage their Arbitration Meeting just right and convince the powers that be that his value is $3,500,001 or higher, they’re required to keep him. A situation that could’ve been solved for signing him before he filed (probably at under $1 million, which is less than he’ll get from a system that appears to still value real time stats). Kadri’s contract will likely be comparable to Matt Duchene’s first non-entry level deal, which saw him earn 3.5 million per year over 3 years. So let’s assume 3.5 for Kadri, 1.5 for Fraser. You’re now at $2,458,333 to call up a player and sign Franson. The player will likely be Carter Ashton or Jerry D’Amigo, who both come in ata bout 1.05 million. This leaves approximately $1.4 million for Cody Franson.

Say what you want about Mikhail Grabovski’s contract, but keeping that, walking away from Tyler Bozak (who had fewer points than Franson in more minutes as a #1 centre, and fewer assists on Phil Kessel goals with way more time played with #81), and buying out John-Michael Liles instead saves the Leafs 2.575 million, and now leaves you with 3.975M towards Cody. Do you need to replace Liles? Even if you have to call up Holzer again to have 7 defencemen, That’s still just under 3.2 million dollars to work with.

Or, you don’t bother with trying to find an usurper to James Reimer’s throne in Jonathan Bernier, and save $2,912,500 by sticking with Scrivens, keeping Frattin, and not needing to call up D’Amigo or Ashton. Bernier has a lot of talent and upside, but if you want to keep the rest of the moves, this one sacrifies two young, cap efficient players and potentially knocks out talent and upside in a different, higher priority position.

Or, you don’t sign David Clarkson to that massive contract. Clarke MacArthur got the same AAV from Ottawa as he did here. Argue all you want about which of the two you’d rather have (to me, the MacArthur contract is more sensible, but Clarkson is admittedly a better short-term, not seven years, but short term solution), but you save $2,000,000 to put towards Franson.

Or you could combine all three, save $7.5 million dollars, and be prepared for Kessel, Phaneuf, Reimer, and Gardiner’s new contracts next year and extend Cody Franson.

But the reality is, Dave Nonis chose his path in order to get Randy Carlyle the team he wanted, and we’re now stuck watching a scenario where Franson will almost assuredly hit the trade market. In a series of questionable moves, this is the exclamation point.

Where Can He Go?

Let’s play Guess Who. Just like old times. Let’s start with 29 teams

ROUND 1: Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadlphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg.

Cody Franson is asking for 4 million dollars from the Toronto Maple Leafs. He won’t get that, but lets assume any team who signs him after aquiring him wants some wiggle room. Seeing as the Leafs are under no means to take salary back, lets remove every team that has less than 4 million in Cap Space. ("What if they have an under 1-1.5M defenceman to give up? You’ll ask, but Minnesota isn’t trading Jonas Brodin for Cody Franson, and he’s not going to the Habs, certainly not for Rafael Diaz)

ROUND 2: Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Phoenix, St. Louis, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

Next up, there are a bunch of teams that are running under internal salary caps. Be it the result of near-bankrupcy, league ownership, or low revenue, there are a few of these teams in the pile. Lets take them out.

ROUND 3: Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Nashville, Vancouver, Washington

One of these is the former team that gave up on him.. 

ROUND 4: Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Vancouver, Washington

The Leafs would be looking for draft picks and prospects due to cap constraints, something that teams that are expected to be near the bottom next year are likely not going to give up.

ROUND 4: Carolina, Vancouver, Washington

Carolina has $4,885,000 in Cap Space. They realistically need to add a defenceman and at least one forward to their roster. before the season starts, with just roster players signed. Vancouver needs to sign Chris Tanev and add another defenceman with their $4,347,222 remaining, but also have four blue liners making over 4.5 million. Washington already has 7 defencemen for next year, just 11 forwards on the roster, and are rumoured to be looking at Mikhail Grabovski. Franson is unlikely to fit into the plans of the team with $5,665,705.

ROUND 5: Uhh…..

Who Can They Get Back?

Some teams may break these rules if they think a deal is really in their best interest. Maybe Carolina sheds a contract. Maybe the Islanders liked that taste of the playoffs and are okay with spending more money. Maybe Jay Feaster is somehow crazier than we thought. But the reality is, we’re heading into August. You’re not going to see league-wide dominoes in order to begin a Cody Franson bidding war. One or two teams will position themselves. The Leafs will be in a position of weakness at this point, and they’ll have to ship him off on the cheap.

Consider that a team with a lot of cap space right now could send Franson an offer sheet. If he’ll accept 4 million dollars, that puts the compensation at a first and third round pick. The Leafs would be very unlikely to match that, especially because it guarantees that somebody could swoop in with another offer sheet on Nazem Kadri. I’m sure other teams realize this, but also realize that he could be had for less if the Leafs are forced into a trade corner. Considering his play and age, less than that would be a concerning return, but the likely case.

When Was This A Good Idea?

I’m only adding this point so I can say I did the 5 W’s. This was never a good idea. The circumstances that lead up to this were very short sighted. The response from those excited on July 5th was "well, if there is a cap issue, we won’t have to worry about it for YEARS!".

It’s been three weeks. The Leafs are going to be stuck giving away one of the league’s better offensive defenceman, at a still growth-friendly age, for peanuts. Amazing.

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  • Great piece, Jeff.

    As far as potential dance partners for Franson’s services are concerned, I think you may have overlooked Tampa Bay.

    While they don’t currently have the cap space you required to pass out of Round 1, they have some more “wiggle room” once Mattias Ohlund goes back on LTIR.

    Yzerman has repeatedly stated that, if a defenseman was going to be added this offseason, it would be A) via trade B) someone to grow around the “young core” and C) preferably a righty two-way guy that can play top-4.

    Franson is exactly all these things.

    Tampa also has plenty of young forward prospects on the farm, including an abundance of top-6 winger talent that is banging on the NHL door. Assuming Nonis isn’t ignoring deals that don’t send D back, I’d expect Brett Connolly would be the most likely to be moved, and the centerpiece of a swap for Franson since the Leafs aren’t looking for more NHL salary.

    (All of this brings Aulie for Ashton to mind for me…)

    Curious what your thoughts on this might be.

  • MaxPower417

    This is Nonis paying for his awful signings. Had he kept Grabo, and let Bozak walk, he would have saved himself $2.55M altogether by buying out Liles instead. If he had done that, and then not given away Frattin + a 2nd for a minor upgrade at backup goalie, he could have also saved himself another $2M having Scrivens over Bernier. That would be $4.55M in extra savings to sign Franson, with IMO a better roster, but nope, Nonis had to make this his team. This doesn’t even consider the savings he could have had by not spending a bajillion dollars on Clarkson. Dark days ahead friends.

  • Ugh we are in quite a pickle. Great article Jeff. I have a few questions but please correct me if I’m wrong kinda thinking out loud…

    Why do we need to call up a Marlie forward? Could we possibly start like this?

    JVR – Bozak – Kessel

    Lupul – Kadri or Unsigned Kadri replacement – Clarkson

    McClement – Bolland – Kulemin

    McClaren – Colborne – Orr

    If push comes to shove could we send Liles down and save 900k?

    If push REALLY comes to shove could we send Reimer down and bring Gibson up and save 300k? (I can’t believe I just typed that!)

  • I agree with you on many of the moves. I would rather have kept Frattin, MacArthur, Grabovski and Scrivens.

    I want to keep Franson too.

    However its not as bad as you point out. I think its possible

    You don’t need to call up a Marlie. Colborne is already in the capgeek roster calculations and could play on the 3rd line wing or 4th line center.

    Do you really think Fraser gets more than $1.5 Million?

    He only has 16 points in 143 NHL games and if you take out the anomaly of the past season, his plus minus isn’t that great.

    I think $1.25 million is more likely. $1.5 million would be number the top number I could see, but feel free argue why he is going to get more.

    If Fraser gets $1.25 million that would still leave almost over 6 million for Fraser and Kadri. $3.25 million for Franson, which is more than Gunarrson got. $2.9 million for Kadri in slightly richer bridge deal than Subban.

    But, if Fraser gets 1.5 million then you have to come down a bit on Franson and Kadri.

    $3.25 million for Franson and $2.9 million for Kadri are lucrative deals and you have to remember that these are still RFA’s. They either agree or don’t play. When faced with sitting out, I think people will come to terms. Around 3 million or nothing and not playing is a compelling argument.

    Another thing to consider is that $2 million of cap space from the buyouts of Tucker and Armstrong comes off the books at the end of this year. Perhaps Franson signs a one year deal at around 3 with the understanding of long term deal and raise to 4 if he has another good season.

    If you took back some salary you might also be able to trade John Michael Liles during the season, especially if he bounces back. A productive Liles at $2.8 million would be a relatively good bargain for a team with with injuries to offensive defense men. The Leafs would pay 1 million per year on his 3.8 contract, but would free up 2.8 million for better purposes.

    • Agreed. If it is possible for Liles to be sent to the Marlies (And I think it is I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have a no movement of any kind) then that will take an additional 900k off. 7.5 + .9 = 8.4.

      Kadri 3.5 + Fraser 1.5 + Franson 3ish = 8ish

      It’s tight but it is doable.

    • Colborne is currently the 12th forward. They’re going to probably going to want to carry 13.

      Fraser very well could get 1.5, the way that arbitration works, they’ll go on rankings and because it’s a short term deal, a year sample may not matter. If the arbitrator weighs the high plus minus, hits etc stats as having value, it oculd be even higher than that.

      The issue with “play or don’t play” is that they can sign offer sheets, and the Leafs are in a position where they could be forced to walk. I also see Kadri getting closer to 3.5.

      And replacing disappearing retained salary with new retained salary sounds like a slippery slope. That’s just me though.

  • your comment about the 13th forward, they do have tervor smith on the books, currently it doenst look like a 2 way contract, but that could change.

    2) i know no one is gunna want liles for 3.75 or 3.8, thye wouldnt be able to unlkoad liles for a cheese sandwich. but they could if they retained a mill, but probably not happening. I see the leafs need about 1.9-2.9 mill to even our their deficit. (that factors in a fraser 0.9-1.5 mill, kadri 3.25-3.5, and franson at 3.25-4) what does this mean? well it means theres going to be a problem. while it is true that teams are allowed to be 10% above cap before the season starts it show tremendous weakness and the wolves will be circling. again what does this mean? phaneuf is a UFA next year. do you honestly think hes going to agree to a reduced cap hit? or an extension that is at his current cap hit? no hes going to ask for more. that brings up more problems down the line no matter what happens here. kessel, kulamien, gardiner, riemer, boulland, Mcclemment, and fraser again if its a 1 year deal or even franson too if its a 1 year deal. all of which are tentative as they could be traded or walk. 2.5 mill coming off the books from buy outs and salary retention will NOT be enough to sign all of these, and thats optimistic i mean we arent going to be keeping them all, hell 2 mill alone can be given to kessel if hes kept. what does this mean? again comes back to phaneuf. in a perfect world liles would be traded to the avs for a god damn 4th round pick. in a perfect world phaneuf would be traded with something else to the islanders for strome. but that isnt going to happen. what will happen maybe is phaneuf to edmonton for stupidness. but that probably wont happen.there are a numerous senarios of what could happen. but right now all of this is just hersay rumours and speculation. currently franson is on the leafs books and they are attempting to set themselves up to sign him

  • Jeremy Ian

    Great article. It helps sometimes to rehearse worst case scenarios. We can assess the opportunity costs of prior decisions, not just the immediate financial expenses, but what you CAN’T do as a result of what you choose TO do.

    I am not so alarmed. There are options. Negotiations are fraught with uncertainty; this is what both sides stoke in order to get the best deal. For Nonis, the issue, I think, is how to handle Liles.

    Darren Dreger is just drawing attention to himself and exploiting the uncertainty. Can make a career out of that practice.

    Still, to sign Bozak, Clarkson, Bolland and trade for Bernier was costly — without addressing the core needs at identified at the end of the season (D & 1C). There were no clear pathways to solve either of those challenges, so Nonis spent where he could. And spent a lot. I agree with your basic premise that this was all done to give Carlyle the team he wants. The good news is: Carlyle can’t complain that he doesn’t have the team for his game plan. Now he has to deliver. I can’t think of a current manager who’s indulged a coach so much. So, now the coach has to deliver. That’s a plus.

    I wonder where Paul Ranger figures in your calculus?

  • Jeremy Ian

    “Colborne is currently the 12th forward. They’re going to probably going to want to carry 13.”

    They are not going to carry 13 forwards if they have cap issues and an AHL team in the same city. That would just be silly. They would call people up as needed and push them down to better manage the cap. They have done that before.

    So at the start of the season that extra forward isn’t there unless Franson or Kadri are holdouts. In that case they now the have the cap space.

    “The issue with “play or don’t play” is that they can sign offer sheets, and the Leafs are in a position where they could be forced to walk.”

    Offer sheets are statistically rare. Here’s a list:

    Out of all the contracts signed in the past five years in the NHL… only 5 offer sheets!

    If Kadri or Franson get an offer sheet you deal with it at that point, because offer sheets are so rare. You wouldn’t prematurely trade Franson because he might get an offer sheet.

    I doubt anybody gives Kadri an offer sheet. They know the Leafs would probably match because of his potential. He was a Leafs draft pick and they see him as part of the future.

    Since the 2004-05 lockout, only seven restricted free agents have signed offer sheets, and only one player has changed teams as the result of an offer sheet: Dustin Penner

    You also have to consider other teams cap space. Who could do an offer sheet? Only 15 team have 4 million or more in cap space. Lots of the remaining teams still have players to sign… so who is going to give an offer sheet Kadri or Franson?

    There is also the matter of compensation and UFA’s. Why would a team give an offer sheet to Kadri and loose at least a 1st and third if they could sign UFA Grabovski (another talented small center) and not pay any compensating picks?

    The fact that Grabovski is still unsigned tells you that cap space is tight and thus it is extremely unlikely that Kadri would get an offer sheet.

    Also, if somebody was going to give an offer sheet to Franson or Kadri…why haven’t they done it already?

    Six of the last seven offer sheets were done in July. The only exception is Ryan O’Rielly in a lockout shortened season.

    So of all the contracts signed in the NHL in the past six years there has only been one…I repeat…one offer sheet after July. I don’t think it happening. The statistical probability is very low.

    In short you are under-estimating the tightness of this market and vastly over-estimating the probability of an offer sheet.

  • Jeremy Ian

    As reported this morning, apparently Fraser is asking for 2 mil. Obviously when negotiating, you ask high and work your way down. Leafs are offering $855,000. I would agree that the middle ground could end up being around 1.5 mil like Jeffler said.

    Although I like what the Leafs have done personnel wise this off season, putting me in the minority, I don’t like the situation they put themselves into cap wise and I don’t think anyone does.

    I would like to add, wouldn’t you be able to send down Trevor Smith to the AHL as well and be able to bury his salary, making the total cap hit saved 1.95 mil. As well if you’re really pushing it, like the others said you could send Liles down and save another 900k bringing the total saved to 2.8 mil, which you can then distribute to Franson and Kadri.

    At the end of the day, the Leafs are able to be 10% over the cap until the season starts, so even if they do go over, there is still some chance to possibly trade Liles and maybe Fraser depending on what sort of salary is offered to him in arbitration. I assume at some point during the season we can see some players being traded to free up cap space. I would be extremely happy if we are able to move Liles before the trade deadline (or even before the season starts) and get some return for him instead of just letting him walk.

  • Jeremy Ian

    I have to add this as well. I just found out that there is a buyout period teams are awarded after a player who has elected to go to salary arbitration has signed with the team. Be it either before the hearing or because of the hearing.
    So, after Fraser gets his contract (which he will get one) there’s a period in which the Maple Leafs can buy out player(s?). I’m not sure if it’s limited to how many players, but it’s possible. And that period is one of only a few days. So they have some available options there, if they do decide to buy out Liles that way. Though this buyout will be against the salary cap, so you would have to take that into account.

    Just thought I would share that. Interesting. Here’s where you can learn more about the buyouts and arbitration in general:

    • Jeremy Ian

      Yes. Loiselle before the draft on the fan 540 talked about the using the second buyout period after arbitration to get more cap flexibility when asked how the team would manage cap.

      People only see a small part of the whole puzzle.

      • MaxPower417

        So, okay, maybe the Leafs use another buyout during this second period.

        They’ve already used both of their compliance buyouts, on Grabovski and Komisarek. So any additional buyout will be count towards the cap the same way Colby Armstrong’s did.

        Which is another little bit of cap space for this Year (and at least next year and probably years more, depending on who gets bought out) just gone into thin air. All because Dave Nonis just kept doubling down on decisions that ate away at the cap space for players that are secondary to their success.

        For somebody complaining about people only looking at a small part of the puzzle, that’s a big piece you yourself have overlooked.

  • MaxPower417

    Good article Jeff. I agree with most everything you’ve written.

    One concern is that I think you cherry picked that shooting percentage stat. If you look at his overall on-ice shooting percentage it’s 13.42% (13.61% 5v5), it tells a different story. So even if his goals rise, his assists are due to sharply fall. Especially since as a defenceman the rate should fall right down to league average.

    Also, I’ve been kicking around lately that it might be possible for the Leafs to run with a 22 man roster, with the Marlies playing in town. Do you think that’s feasible? Is there any precedent for that being done?

    I was able to construct a 22 man roster, (with a scoring fourth line no less)with, Franson signed long term at 4 mil, Kadri on a bridge at 3.0 and Fraser at 1.2 with 300k cap room to spare. If I dropped the “redemption” players (Connolly and Larose) I picked for the scoring fourth line and inserted the refrigerators back in, there would be something like 600-700k left in cap space.

  • jasken

    Good read Jeff

    I dont like the idea of trading him as he has great potential, also dont like the 4 mil he’s asking for his lack of consistency. Refusal of the 4 mil is a no brainer make a deal around 2.5 mil next 2 years if he performs consistently then award him 4 years at 6 mil.

    The Cap is no longer a problem hopefully, he proved consistency, it would average out the previous 2 years to 4 mil sort of like a back pay and give him 4 mil for the next 4. I am no GM but this would make more sense, everyone gets what they want, an incentive to perform and maintain consistency.

    • MaxPower417

      I’d rather take the gamble on him and sign him up for 4 mil 5 years right now. Better that, than having him and Kadri come up for big paydays at the same time.

  • MaxPower417

    I forgot to add / ask, couldnt the leafs offer him a 1 year 1 mill contract, then turn around at the same time and give him an extension on top of this for a 2-4 year at 3.5-4.5 or is this not even plausable

      • MaxPower417

        i looked it up kinda but i mean theres probably a rule against it as well lol


        Will Clubs be able to renegotiate contracts with players?

        No. Player contracts will not be renegotiated (upward or downward) during their term. Extensions may be negotiated but only in the final year of the contract and only if such extension is for an amount that can be accommodated in a Club’s upper limit for the current year or as computed for future years.

        being signed to a one year deal franson is then automatically in his final year(again) of his contract they are then able to do a contract extension

        • MaxPower417

          “only if such extension is for an amount that can be accommodated in a Club’s upper limit for the current year or as computed for future years.”

          I think that’s the key. They can’t sign him to an extension if the value of the extension would put them over the salary cap this year.

          I’m still surprised there isn’t a specific rule about 1 year contracts. It would take some trust and backroom deals, but for a team that had lots of cap room, they could theoretically sign a player to a 1 year 10 million dollar deal and then an extension at say 4 year 20 mil. The annual value to the player would be 6 mil per season (actually more due to the time value of money) but would only cost the team 5 mil per season against the cap in the years that theoretically mattered more.

          • MaxPower417

            they did that with hossa, chara, kovalechuyk exactly what your talking about, a front loaded contract, i think hossa got 10 mill in first year, its a 12 year contract, and like the final 3 years hes gettin under a mill per. whats stopping them from having a back loaded contract, same basis

          • MaxPower417

            Except this would be two different contracts, not one contract. And would clearly require some back room deal to keep the parties honest. I think these would be big red flags to the NHL that cap circumvention was underway.

            They also tried to do away with those front loaded deals, with “fake” years tacked on to the end. Hell, they took draft picks away from the Devils for so blatantly exploiting the loophole.

  • MaxPower417

    yes i remember this, never know might be able to off load liles or trade phaneuf for something becasue i dont think hes going to resign for the leafs for less or equal pay and then having no cap space to resign like 5 other players. hes gunna want more

  • MaxPower417

    Hey man, I really enjoyed the article!
    I hate to be the guy to bring this up, and I might get razzed for saying it, but might it not be sensible to wait another week or two before assessing how much trouble we’re in? Often moves in the NHL are in the works weeks, or months before the public hears anything about them (JVR/Bernier). I find it pretty hard to believe that a GM who was very cap-conscious and responsible over the duration of the regular season would just up and forget about two of his most treasured pieces in RFA’s Kadri and Franson. When asked about the contracts, Nonis said he was not worried about resigning the players. From all I’ve gathered about Nonis, he is a very honest and genuine GM, and if he did not have a plan in place I think there would be a certain measure of accountability from his end. Do you really think he’d sign Ranger to 1M if he’d have to trade Franson because of it? Nonis, like every other executive in the league, is far too smart to simply forget about the cap, or to make a mistake that glaring. I’m near certain that Nonis has more up his sleeve, and more options, than the blogging community is willing to admit. For example, someone like Nik Kulemin could be moved for a much more affordable 3rd line piece. This is not a personal jab or anything of the sort, but I’m frustrated with our community because we need to give our management a chance to work before we start going all Chicken Little… Believe me, like every other leafs fan here I will go ballistic if we end up starting the season with a dismantled team due to cap trouble, but have a little faith that there is a bigger plan in store than just an impulsive spending spree. There is so much that we all don’t know, and I wouldn’t support this team if I didn’t have some degree of trust and faith in the management, much the same sentiment I felt towards Burkie.

  • MaxPower417

    Keep in mind, that they can still buy out liles. They used their 2 compliance buyouts, but they still have unlimited buyouts starting this thursday, and liles is expected to be bought out, freeing up cap space for both franson and kadri. 🙂