With the NHL trade deadline just hours away let’s look at a player the Toronto Maple Leafs might want to think about targeting.
Currently sitting six points back of the wildcard-leading Maple Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres appear to be a likely seller at today’s festivities, as their possibility of playoff contention continues to slip away.
Losers of their last four, the Sabres do have some assets that will undoubtedly draw interest. One of those is none other than defender Cody Franson.
Franson signed with the Sabres before the start of the 2015-16 season, a two-year, 6.65MM deal. An upcoming unrestricted free agent, Franson has the chance to add depth to a playoff hopeful while freeing up valuable cap space for Buffalo who will also benefit from whatever asset they acquire in the trade – be it a draft pick, player or prospect.
A coveted right-hand shot defenseman, Franson has already matched his 2015-16 season totals in points at 17. While his current 0.30 points-per-game is a far cry from his days with the Leafs, where in parts of four seasons (2011-12 to 2014-15) he amassed 20-goals and 95-assists for an average points-per-game of 0.48, the hulking 6-foot-5, 224-pound rearguard still holds value. Despite the Sabres’ struggles, Franson’s minus-1 rating places him third on the club in the plus-minus category amongst skaters with 50 or more games played.
56 gp: 3 goals, 14 assists, 17 points, -1 rating, 18:45 ATOI
LIKELIHOOD OF A TRADE
It’s tough to imagine the Maple Leafs and the Sabres hooking up on a deal considering the last trade the two clubs made was March 4th, 2009, when Toronto shipped center Dominic Moore to Buffalo for a 2009 2nd round draft pick (#59-Jesse Blacker). Before that, you’d have to go way back to February 2nd, 1993 when the Maple Leafs acquired forward Dave Andreychuk, goalie Darren Puppa and a 1993 1st round draft pick (#12 – Kenny Jonsson) in exchange for goalie Grant Fuhr and a 1993 2nd round pick (#119-Kevin Popp).