The Toronto Maple Leafs have avoided today’s salary arbitration hearing with defenceman Cody Franson by signing him to a one-year, $3.3M contract, because apparently everyone had tee times.
Franson was the Leafs’ highest scoring defender last season, with five goals and 33 points in 79 games.
That $3.3M figure falls pretty much down the middle of Cody Franson’s reported asking price of $4.2M and the Leafs’ offer of $2M flat. These numbers, that every team and player submit prior to arbitration, are always a joke. The player will always ask for too much, while the team will always offer too little.
As soon as those numbers were reported, it was safe to assume a one-year deal in the $3M to $3.5M range was inevitable, arbitration or not. It makes most sense to get these deals done ahead of time, as it saves the player and team from an awkward courtroom confrontation.
It essentially would of been The Roast of Cody Franson, but, you know, not funny.
A quick look at salary cap hit comparables tells us that the Leafs, should they not trade him, have Franson signed to a pretty good contract. Guys like Trevor Daley, Clayton Stoner, Rob Scuderi, Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ference all have very similar cap hits.
The Leafs now have about $9.2M remaining in cap space, with James Reimer and Jake Gardiner still to sign, and a seventh defenceman to add (probably Granberg and his $800K cap hit). While we all wait in anticipation of those new Reimer and Gardiner contracts, it’s likely the Leafs enter the season with a nice cap cushion of approximately $3M. That ain’t half bad.