Though many have assumed him to be on the chopping block, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported this morning that the Toronto Maple Leafs are keen on re-signing defenceman Cody Franson.
To elaborate on the point further, Dreger’s notion is that the Leafs have recieved trade offers for him, but nothing that they feel is substantial enough to pull the trigger on. In that case, this tidbit makes perfect sense.
After all, the general consensus, even to outsiders, is that the Leafs are unlikely to see Franson as a key cog moving forward. Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly have jumped ahead of him in the depth chart as offensive players, the team wants to get at least one first pairing defenceman added to the roster (possibly two if Dion Phaneuf is traded), Carl Gunnarsson’s name hasn’t come up at all, and Tim Gleason is more or less dead weight.
With this considered, it’s not a leap to assume that Franson will be “the guy” shopped for value by the Leafs, which already puts them at a position of weakness in trade negotiations. Combine that with the fact that his 5 on 5 production numbers were at a low point this season, and you have to imagine this isn’t the best time for them to maximize the asset value.
There’s, of course, two ways to increase that on the fly. Showcase the player to show that he’s capable, or find a way to publicly say “we’re listening, it’s not enough, and we may just yank him off the market if nobody acts fast”.
Maybe that’s why it’s Dreger that has this scoop. Or maybe they’re actually interested in keeping him. I guess we’ll find out.
On an off-ice note, the Leafs announced their “first ever” Leafs Nation Fan Festival, to be hosted at the Air Canada Centre between Friday, September 5th and Sunday, September 7th.
The event appears to be a tour on steroids; you get to see the dressing room, try some combine stuff out, possibly buy some game-used gear, and if the right people are around, get some autographs. It’s a neat idea, and a great way to give back to the fans…
Well, except for the fact that tickets range from $50 to $90 for Friday (which includes access to a townhall meeting), and $40 on Saturday/Sunday. I’m pretty sure that’s more expensive than almost the entire league’s minimum entry for the regular season game, other than perhaps the Rangers and Habs (and here, obviously).
That said; the money does appear to be going to a good cause (renovations at the Regent Park Athletic Grounds), and to be honest, this fanbase is too big to do this without some sort of limited access. Lines would be overwhelming and nobody would be able to get anything done. Part of me wants to say the Leafs should be doing this for free and finding a way to manage crowds, but in a supply and demand world, this paywall should do the trick and help out a community that could use it.