On this day in 2015, the Toronto Maple Leafs trade defenceman Cody Franson to the Nashville Predators

Aleena Aksenchuk
2 months ago
On this day in 2015, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded defenceman Cody Franson alongside Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a first-round pick in 2015, Olli Jokinen, and Brendan Leipsic. 
During his time with the Maple Leafs, Franson became a significant defenceman, strengthening Toronto’s blueline and providing them with considerable offence. 
Ironically, Franson came to Toronto in a trade with the Predators in 2011, just two years after he began playing with the club after being drafted as the Predators’ 79th overall selection in the 2005 NHL Draft. 
He found his footing in his third year in Toronto, scoring five goals and 33 points, a career-high for the 26-year-old. After signing his third single-year contract worth $3.3-million with the Maple Leafs, and scoring six goals and 32 points in 57 games, the Leafs recognized their need to begin rebuilding their team. It resulted in shipping off Franson back to where it all started in Nashville. During his time with Toronto, Franson scored 20 goals and 115 points across 236 games in the Leafs iconic blue and white sweater.
The Predators, however, were the leading team in the league during the time of the trade. Still, their performance began to falter after acquiring the former Leafs players. Franson ultimately lasted 23 regular season games, with Nashville scoring one goal and four points. After the Predators failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs, he chose to sign as a free agent with the Buffalo Sabres in September 2015. 
Santorelli was the other half of the deal heading to Nashville. It was his inaugural season as a Maple Leaf after having stints with a handful of teams around the league, including the Florida Panthers, Predators, Winnipeg Jets, and Vancouver Canucks. Like Franson, he didn’t produce anything overly exciting while in Nashville scoring one goal and four points. He was eventually traded to the Anaheim Ducks in August 2015.
For Leafs’ general manager Dave Nonis, the trades made sense in order for them to get their hands on some valuable assets as they entered into a rebuilding period.
“We feel that the pieces we thought were good,” Nonis said at the time of the deal. “They’re quality pieces.”
The trade gave the Leafs a first-round pick in 2015, which they ultimately traded to the Philadelphia Flyers, which gave them forward Travis Konecny. Alongside the draft selection were Jokinen and Leipsic.
Leipsic was a promising young prospect, leading the CHL in 2012-13 with 49 goals and 120 points. However, Leipsic only appeared in six games with Toronto in 2015-16, primarily slotting in as a regular with the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League. He was later picked up in 2017 in the expansion draft by the Vegas Golden Knights.
Jokinen was a seasoned NHL veteran, having stints with the Florida Panthers, Calgary Flames, and Winnipeg Jets, amongst others, across 16 years in the league. Although Nonis saw that Jokinen was more of an asset, he could later use to acquire a depth centre, which he followed through with trading him after six games to the St. Louis Blues to acquire Joakim Lindstrom. 

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