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Fraser hoping Leafs can sign Franson

Jul 30, 2013, 5:20 PM EDT

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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?

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