According to reports, it appears the Toronto Maple Leafs and Cody Franson are close to agreeing on a new contract. James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail advised the two sides will likely split the difference to avoid arbitration:
Rumblings are Leafs and Franson will likely avoid arbitration with last minute deal tomorrow. Probably just split the difference.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) July 20, 2014
Franson and the Maple Leafs were set to attend the hearing tomorrow morning. However, it now appears the 26-year old’s new deal will be announced ahead of the meeting.
Earlier reports had indicated the Maple Leafs and their defenceman were $2.2 million apart. The new deal is expected to be short-term.
It will be interesting to see exactly how short the contract is, especially with Franson one year away from unrestricted free agency. It’s possible Dave Nonis and company still worry the offensively skilled Canadian is too inconsistent, given why they would prefer not to tie themselves to any long-term deal at this stage.
Personally speaking, even though there was a drop-off in Franson’s performance last season (five goals and 33 assists in 79 games), I believe the team needs to commit to him. While I appreciate the word ‘potential’ can sometimes worry people (i.e. at what point does it go from having a high ceiling to becoming wasted talent?) the 2005 third round draft pick has shown what he’s capable of.
Who can forget Franson’s play during the strike-shortened 2012-13 season, particularly in the enthralling seven-game playoff series against the Boston Bruins? (What do you mean it’s still too soon to bring that up?!) In my humble opinion, get the guy signed up long-term and be done with it.