According to, well, every major mainstream media outlet on the planet, the Toronto Maple Leafs have a couple of players electing for arbitration. James Reimer was already known to be the one of them, but it’s since come out that Cody Franson will be joining him.
What’s the deal?
A lot of people are unaware of player-elected arbitration. Teams are traditionally the only ones who can file, but that’s not a situation the Leafs likely want to be in right now with their team still up in the air. A player, on the other hand, can also file after four years of NHL experience (less if they signed their ELC after turning 20). In a player-opted scenario, the team can only walk away if the award is over 3.5 million.
Is this bad?
It might be possible for Franson to maximize his value a bit here. Arbitration doesn’t allow for advanced statistics, cap implications, or “eyeball” testimony. You can use basic NHL statistcs, injury status, leadership status, fan appeal, and RFA comparables.
It doesn’t apply to just the immediate year either; past tenure plays into the situation as well. Franson is one of the most productive 5 on 5 offensive defencemen the league has seen since he joined, ranking 9th in ES pts / 60, 2nd without last year included. He can’t use a hybrid stat like that, but using raw points and minutes played should paint him a pretty picture to work with, possibly into the “walk away” dollar figure. If he sell that he was banged up throughout this year to explain his dip, it may have a further effect.
From there, it’s up to the Leafs to figure out if he’s expendable or not.