Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to Nashville Predators


Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to Nashville Predators

After weeks of speculation, the Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli. The Nashville Predators acquired Franson and Santorelli from the Maple Leafs for a 2015 first-round pick, veteran forward Olli Jokinen and prospect Brendan Leipsic.

Dec 23, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Mike Santorelli (25) skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Maple Leafs shut out the Stars 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Franson and Santorelli are both set to become unrestricted free agents after this season. Both players signed one-year contracts this past off-season and will more than likely receive substantial pay raises this upcoming free agency.

Franson has six goals and 32 points in 55 games this season, and was easily the Leafs best defenseman for the better part of this year. Franson will head back to the team that originally drafted him, as he joins a very deep and talented defense.

Santorelli blossomed with the Leafs this season and was considered one of the best offseason bargains. Through 57 games he has 11 goals and 29 points, although many would say his versatility is what made him such a valuable trade asset.

In exchange for Franson and Santorelli, the Leafs received a first-round pick, which is the centrepiece of the deal for Toronto. Although it will be a low-end pick, it does signify that the rebuild is officially on in Toronto.

However, prospect Brendan Leipsic is a former third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft who has a lot of upside. He has seven goals and 35 points in 47 games for the Predators AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals.

At 5-10, 177 pounds, Leipsic s a small, energetic winger that plays a similar style to Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher. He is a crafty playmaker with the puck and could eventually crack the Leafs top-six forwards — if he adds a bit of size to his game.

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  • He is also in the first year of a three-year entry level deal, meaning the Leafs will have full control over him for the next two seasons. Prior to joining the Admirals this season, the Winnipeg native dominated the WHL for the Portland Winterhawks. In 128 games from 2012-2014, he posted 211 points (88 goals and 123 assists) and a ridiculous plus 83.

    Although he is probably still a year away from the NHL, he does have an intriguing resume.

    Meanwhile, veteran forward Olli Jokinen is essentially a filler in this deal, as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

    With Franson and Santorelli both gone, the Leafs’ best trade chip ahead of the deadline is now forward Daniel Winnik — somebody the Penguins have kept a close eye on.

    While Leafs’ fans would love to see players like Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf or Phil Kessel traded, it seems unlikely given not only their contracts, but also the uncertainty surrounding next year’s salary cap.

    What do you think about the trade Leafs’ fans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.