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Fraser hoping Leafs can sign Franson

Jul 30, 2013, 5:20 PM EDT

Leafs celebrate Getty Images

Defenseman Mark Fraser is happy to have signed a one-year contract without having to go to arbitration with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

What Fraser wants now is a deal for his blue-line partner, Cody Franson.

“He’s going through a similar thing,” Fraser told TSN 1050 today, referring to Franson’s contract situation. “But for his sake and our team and myself, I really hope it can be sorted out because he’s just a great asset and he helped me out a lot.”

It’s been reported that the Leafs could be forced to trade Franson, a restricted free agent, in order to stay under the salary cap for the 2013-14 season. (Toronto also needs to negotiate a new contract with RFA forward Nazem Kadri.)

One other option that’s been suggested is for the Leafs to buy out (non-compliance version) or trade veteran John-Michael Liles.

For what it’s worth, we tend to see a Liles buyout as unlikely. The 32-year-old puck-moving d-man isn’t all that far removed from being worthy of a four-year, $15.5 million contract extension. If the Leafs are willing to retain some salary, he should be tradeable. And even if he’s not, would they really be willing to take a cap hit for the next six years for him to play elsewhere?

  1. ruthlessandtoothless - Jul 30, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Holmgren pick up your phone and checkbook. – all of Philly

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 30, 2013 at 7:25 PM

      Totally agree. Franson could be the right handed shot we’ve been missing for years. The only problem is Holmgren would have to clear out Meszaros’ cap hit. Or even Coburn too, as Franson would be an able replacement. And the asking price will probably be excessive.

    • withseidelinn - Jul 30, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      Get your cap situation fixed first… He’ll cost at least $4m…

      • ruthlessandtoothless - Jul 30, 2013 at 11:43 PM

        Pretty sure they’re gonna dump Coburn on Edmonton any day now so I think there’s a semi-realistic chance of him making a call to Nonis. Its worth a shot.

  2. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:25 AM

    The Leafs will be able to sign both Kadri and Franson. The Leafs aren’t giving up the only right handed Dman on the team.

    According to capgeek they have about $4.9M in cap space, but they’re including Korbinian Holzer and Trevor Smith, who will be in the AHL. So the Leafs actually have closer to $6.2M in cap space.

    It’s reasonable to be able to sign Kadri and Franson for $3M per season, for a couple of years until the cap’s back up again. If they’re asking for more then it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a taker for Liles.

    • kale42 - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      Yeah, it might be a good idea to at least carry an extra guy on the roster though haha, that would be the 13th forward and 7th d-man that you’d both be sending down. So unless you’re in TO and close enough to where the Marlies guys can just stop by, and extra player isn’t such a bad idea

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Jul 31, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        I agree, I’m assuming they’ll trade Liles to have the space to have the extra guys.

    • mistercue62 - Aug 1, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      Couldn’t agree more. The Maple Leafs would be insane to let Franson go. Not only is he the lone right hand shot on the blue line, he’s an enormously talented player; arguably the best defenseman on the roster. I’ve often heard it said that he “finally found” or “re-invented” his game last season. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Franson was ALWAYS a top-four talent; the problem he had after joining the Leafs wasn’t his game, rather it was the buffoon Ron Wilson who sat him night after night in the pressbox in favor of Komisarek. Whenever he did get a little icetime, he was played on his wrong side (once again, to accomodate Mike Komisarek, the human pylon). It seemed as though Wilson believed that as Komiserek was receiving such an inflated salary, they were gonna get their money’s worth in playing time.

      Whatever the “reasoning”, it no longer matters. Now that Carlyle is behind the bench, Franson is where he belongs…on the ice and doing what he’s ALWAYS been capable of…playing stellar defense!

      The Leafs had better re-sign this guy and SOON!

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