Leafs Looking To Retain Franson?

Though many have assumed him to be on the chopping block, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported this morning that the Toronto Maple Leafs are keen on re-signing defenceman Cody Franson.

Wait, What?

To elaborate on the point further, Dreger’s notion is that the Leafs have recieved trade offers for him, but nothing that they feel is substantial enough to pull the trigger on. In that case, this tidbit makes perfect sense.

After all, the general consensus, even to outsiders, is that the Leafs are unlikely to see Franson as a key cog moving forward. Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly have jumped ahead of him in the depth chart as offensive players, the team wants to get at least one first pairing defenceman added to the roster (possibly two if Dion Phaneuf is traded), Carl Gunnarsson’s name hasn’t come up at all, and Tim Gleason is more or less dead weight.

With this considered, it’s not a leap to assume that Franson will be “the guy” shopped for value by the Leafs, which already puts them at a position of weakness in trade negotiations. Combine that with the fact that his 5 on 5 production numbers were at a low point this season, and you have to imagine this isn’t the best time for them to maximize the asset value.

There’s, of course, two ways to increase that on the fly. Showcase the player to show that he’s capable, or find a way to publicly say “we’re listening, it’s not enough, and we may just yank him off the market if nobody acts fast”.

Maybe that’s why it’s Dreger that has this scoop. Or maybe they’re actually interested in keeping him. I guess we’ll find out.

[via tsn.ca]

Fan Fest

On an off-ice note, the Leafs announced their “first ever” Leafs Nation Fan Festival, to be hosted at the Air Canada Centre between Friday, September 5th and Sunday, September 7th. 

The event appears to be a tour on steroids; you get to see the dressing room, try some combine stuff out, possibly buy some game-used gear, and if the right people are around, get some autographs. It’s a neat idea, and a great way to give back to the fans…

Well, except for the fact that tickets range from $50 to $90 for Friday (which includes access to a townhall meeting), and $40 on Saturday/Sunday. I’m pretty sure that’s more expensive than almost the entire league’s minimum entry for the regular season game, other than perhaps the Rangers and Habs (and here, obviously).

That said; the money does appear to be going to a good cause (renovations at the Regent Park Athletic Grounds), and to be honest, this fanbase is too big to do this without some sort of limited access. Lines would be overwhelming and nobody would be able to get anything done. Part of me wants to say the Leafs should be doing this for free and finding a way to manage crowds, but in a supply and demand world, this paywall should do the trick and help out a community that could use it.

[via mapleleafs.com]

  • Benjamin

    Depending on the contract I don’t think retaining Franson would be the end of the world.

    It would need to be at 3rd pairing, PP specialist wages mind you. If he’s looking for big money I think Ranger could be pencilled into the third pairing and 2nd PP unit and that money could go elsewhere.

  • FlareKnight

    I sure hope it’s just a ruse to help get better offers for Franson. I don’t see any reason to keep him around. If having balance in the left/right shot category is so key, get other right handed shots.

    No matter where he was the guy was a 2 on 1 monster. He might have traumatized Rielly with the amount of times he hung the rookie d-man out to dry.

    But who knows. They might just keep him around.

  • acg5151

    Franson had a tough year, but the Leafs could do a lot worse than him as far as dmen go.

    You can’t cut bait with a player after one year. I remember everyone saying how the Sedins sucked two or three years after they were drafted. They don’t say that now. I’m not saying Franson is going to be a great dman, but he will be a good option on the second/third pair moving forward if Carlyle doesn’t ruin him. The Leafs would be foolish to dump Franson after one bad year because it’s highly possible that he bounces back and becomes a better defenseman. After next year, maybe, but I think this season was an outlier.

  • acg5151

    I don’t think Gleas is dead weight at all, he may be overpriced but at least he plays (liles). The guy isn’t a bad player at all and he has lot of heart, although that can’t be measured I know I know.

  • acg5151

    Well, it depends on price, right?

    Think about it this way: if $2-3 million is the cost to retain him, the upper range of that pay grade probably gets you Tom Gilbert or Anton Stralman.

    Is Franson as good as either of those players? Nyet. But, should the Leafs miss out on them, he’s a decent 2nd-3rd pairing guy, and you’d have to think that, as Gardiner and Rielly mature, Having a guy to play with them with a great shot from the point is an asset.