The Toronto Maple Leafs were reportedly linked to defencemen Jason Garrison and Cody Franson at the NHL Trade Deadline. Could either player be an option in the future?
Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts post on Sportsnet.ca is always riddled with fun tidbits of information that make you think. This week’s post had a pair of interesting notes on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The first note was about how veteran players could perceive Toronto, and the second was about how the Leafs were linked to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Jason Garrison and the Buffalo Sabres’ Cody Franson at the trade deadline.
Here’s what Friedman had to say:
"19. Toronto was not on Filppula’s list of approved teams to be moved to. He could block 13. So Tampa would have needed extra permission to send him there. Veterans see Colin Greening, Brooks Laich and Milan Michalek in the AHL, so they believe it could happen to them too. Going into the last year of his contract, Filppula had to be aware of that. Toronto was linked to another Tampa player — Jason Garrison — and Buffalo’s Cody Franson, but there was nothing at the end."
It’s no surprise Valtteri Filppula didn’t want to come play for the Leafs, especially with Mike Babcock being the head coach and Filppula apparently not being Babcock’s biggest fan, hence why he left Detroit for Tampa Bay in 2013. The more important piece of information here, however, is Friedman suggesting that veteran players fear they could be banished to “Robidas Island,” or to the AHL, if they are traded to the Leafs.
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If that’s the case, I’d imagine this is a common belief among veteran players in the NHL and their agents. Does that mean the Leafs will have a tougher time luring veteran players to Toronto? I don’t think so. But perhaps it does help Toronto attract the kind of veteran player they’re looking for? If there’s any chance you could eventually be placed on “Robidas Island,” why would you even consider signing with the Leafs? It just doesn’t make sense.
In theory, perhaps this ominous threat of “Robidas Island” helps Toronto since it will likely only attract “Babcock type players” who are willing to not only buy into his system, but also regularly do one of Babcock’s favourite things: compete.
When it comes to the Garrison and Franson rumours, it’s nice to see the Leafs are actively searching for a defenceman, and it convinces me even further that they will pursue — and likely acquire — one this summer.
Franson will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, so the Leafs could pursue him in free agency, if they wanted too. As for Garrison, he will be entering the final year of his contract next season and carries a $4.6 million cap hit. Considering the Lightning are trying to create cap space, I think Garrison will be available this summer, too.
What do you think the Toronto Maple Leafs kicking the tires on Garrison and Franson? Do you think the team should pursue either of them this offseason? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.