First, let’s get this out of the way… I don’t want to trade Cody Franson. He’s a handsome man and good hockey player and I’d love to have him stick around Toronto for the forseeable future. That being said, even more than not wanting to trade him do I not want him to walk for nothing at the end of the season.
So what can you get for him? At first, I dreamed of a first round pick, or maybe a second and a good prospect. Or maybe like, a really great prospect? That’d be super.
But I also have to consider that Franson is just a rental (for now), and that the market could be saturated with top four defencemen (Keith Yandle, Zbynek Michalek, Tyler Myers, etc.), and that these factors could hurt Franson’s trade value.
Ultimately though, precedence is king. So let’s take a look at other (perceived) quality defenders who were moved close to or at the trade deadline over the past year years and see what kind of value the Leafs should be looking to extract out of Franson.
Robidas to Anaheim
Don’t laugh. Robidas might be next to useless now, but he was once upon a time a fine player for the Dallas Stars. Last season, in 38 games, Robidas scored 10 points, was a +10, and averaged 20:10 in ice time. That ain’t half bad.
That being said, Anaheim got him on the cheap, only giving up a conditional 2014 fourth round pick to land him on March 4th, 2014. The pick could have become a third round pick based on games played, but an injury caused Robidas to miss significant time and the pick remained a fourth. With it, the Stars selected goaltender Brent Moran of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs.
Now, Franson definitely has a much higher trade value than a measly fourth round pick, as he’s not injury prone nor is he old as heck. That being said, revisiting the Robidas deal at the very least sets our floor for expectations going forward.
MacDonald to Philadelphia
Like Franson is now, Andrew MacDonald was 27-years old when the New York Islanders traded the pending UFA to the Philadelphia Flyers on March 4th of last year. The Flyers thought they were getting a solid, two-way top four defender. They didn’t really, but still signed him to a six-year, $30M contract this past offseason, which is hilarious.
In exchange, the Islanders received a 2014 third round pick, a 2015 second round pick, and prospect Matt Mangene. The third round pick was used to draft KHL goaltender Ilya Sorokin, while the second rounder has already been dealt, shipped to the Boston Bruins as part of a package for Johnny Boychuk. Matt Mangene, 25, has yet to play an NHL game and is currently hopping between AHL and ECHL assignments.
Bouwmeester to St. Louis
Jay Bouwmeester is definitely the biggest fish on this list, and the St. Louis Blues certainly paid big for him, so that doesn’t make him the best comparable to Franson. That being said, as Robidas set our low, low floor, Bouwmeester can represent the ceiling for our expectations.
The Calgary Flames shipped Bouwmeester to the Blues on April 1st, 2013, and in exchange received a conditional first round pick, defenceman Mark Cundari and goaltender Reto Berra.
Now 24, Mark Cundari hasn’t yet cracked the Flames’ lineup on any consistent basis, but is still in the organization with Adirondack of the AHL. Reto Berra played 29 games for the Flames the following season, but was ultimately shipped to Colorado for a 2014 second round pick (Hunter Smith). The first round pick turned out to be a 2013 selection, and was used to take talented winger Emile Poirier.
Murray to Pittsburgh
If you stifled your laughter for Robidas, you may now howl. I mean, at least Robidas is still in the league in some capacity.
Douglas Murray was traded by the San Jose Sharks to the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 25, 2013 for a 2013 second round pick and a 2014 conditional second round pick. The condition was eventually met, so we’re looking at a pair of second rounders for a guy who ended up playing 29 games for the Penguins before signing with Montreal in the offseason. Murray is now playing in Germany.
The Sharks used the 2013 second round pick along with their own 2013 first rounder in a deal with the Detroit Red Wings to move up two slots and select defenceman Mirco Mueller. The 2014 second round pick was used by the Sharks to take forward Noah Rod.
Quincey to Tampa Bay, then Detroit
Kyle Quincey is a unique situation, it that he was involved in two deals in one day on February 21st, 2012. First, the Colorado Avalanche traded Quincey to the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward Steve Downie. Almost immediately, the Lightning flipped Quincey to the Detroit Red Wings for a 2012 first round pick and defensive prospect Sebastien Piche.
Tampa Bay used the first round pick to select Andrei Vasilevski, who’s now 20-years old and is perhaps the best goaltending prospect in all of hockey. Piche spent some time in the ECHL before jumping the pond and continuing his career in Austria.
Setting Reasonable Expectations
Reportedly, the Leafs are looking for a 2nd round pick if they choose to move Franson.
I think they could do better, but maybe not by much. It wouldn’t be unreasonable, based on the trades mentioned above, that Toronto could also command a mid-level prospect or a mid-round pick in any deal in which they trade Franson to a Cup contender. If you’re feeling really saucy, you could ask for one very good prospect or a first round pick – letting the trading partner work out a contract extension might help make that happen.
So if you’re dealing with Los Angeles? Ask for first round pick, or prospect Adrian Kempe. Why not?
Anaheim? Push them hard for a Franson-for-Shea Theodore flip, or maybe settle for 2015 second and fourth.
For the love of God, do not accept a measly third rounder.
These are the kind of deals you’re looking at (or hoping to) make if you can’t keep Franson around long term.