The Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to a 1-year $2 million dollar contract with restricted free agent Cody Franson according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. Franson originally looking for a long-term deal, quickly realized that the Leafs cap situation would prevent this.
The two sides hit a stalemate when Franson wanted a 1-year deal but the Leafs were reportedly insisting on two. It appears as if the Leafs blinked first, realizing that getting Franson for 1-year on a vastly below market deal was appeasable to both sides.
Franson obviously preferred the 1-year deal so he could attempt to earn the money he deserves next off season when the salary cap rises from its current artificially depressed state.
Franson broke out with the Maple Leafs last season, scoring 4 goals and adding 25 assists in 45 games for the team. Franson led all Maple Leafs blue liners in points and was 6th in the NHL. Franson only continued his solid play throughout the Leafs 7 game series against the Boston Bruins.
If Franson is able to repeat his 2013 performance, the young defenseman will be in line to get a serious pay cheque. A large bodied, smooth skating, offensive defenseman is a rare and valuable commodity in today’s NHL, and will fetch a small fortune on the open market.
Reinserting Franson into the Leafs already crowded picture on the blue line further clouds the situation. It remains to be seen if this signing will affect Morgan Rielly’s chance to break camp with the team. Dave Nonis and company will need to get creative with their roster to get below the salary cap as the addition of Franson leaves very little wiggle room.