It just seems that every week comes with a new trade rumor for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Most of the time, the talks surround Jake Gardiner. This time however, it’s another Leafs defenseman that could be talked about: Cody Franson.
Most of you have more than likely heard the trade rumors surrounding the New York Rangers‘ defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Darren Dreger reports that the Leafs are one of the teams interested in the 23-year old blue-liner. The Rangers would like a young defenseman in return, preferably a right-handed shot.
Where Gardiner would normally be talked about, Franson is the player the Rangers want. Dreger then affirmed that, with this tweet from Hope Smoke.
Dreger "I know the Rangers love Cody Franson. They could make a Del Zotto for Franson trade tomorrow."
— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) December 18, 2013
Del Zotton is three years younger than Franson and would fit right in with Morgan Rielly and Gardiner, but having three very young offensive defensemen might be too much of a good thing. Rielly is entrenched as the future of the Leafs offensive d-men. Gardiner is as long as he is not traded. Having all three could cause problems.
Not only that, a straight Franson for Del Zotto deal would make the Leafs pony up more money. Del Zotto’s cap hit is $2,550,000 for this year and next, while Franson is an RFA at season’s end after making $2 million this year. That would be good for this year, but it might be too much for whats left of this season.
While Del Zotto might be a good pickup in the long term, there is another Rangers defenseman that I would rather see come to the Leafs in Dan Girardi.
He would provide more experience and is a shutdown defenseman, more of what the Leafs need on defense. As a UFA at season’s end, he would end up probably being cheaper in the long run given the year he’s having. What would be hard is fitting him in under the cap for this season.
With Del Zotto and Girardi, the New York Rangers could very well end up trading one, if not both of them. If they want Franson however, I’m sure how much the Leafs would be interested.