Mar 29, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson (4) celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Trade Speculation: Should The Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Cody Franson?

Dion Phaneuf might not be the only Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman that could get traded this off-season. The other most prominent name in talks is Cody Franson. Last Thursday, Darren Dreger sent this tweet out.

So, there’s obviously interest from other teams in Franson. However, the Maple Leafs want to re-sign him. Why would anyone be interested in a player who had such a bad season in 2013-14. It’s because of his performance in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season in which he scored 4 goals and added 25 assist for 29 points in 45 games. It looks like the belief around the NHL is that Franson could get back to that type of production.

So, if that is the belief, should the Leafs re-sign him or should they trade him?

The answer is obvious if you look at it the right way. After the season he had, Franson would give the Leafs a very low return in a trade. Everyone might say “Trade him for a bag of pucks!” now, but if he became a good top four defenseman elsewhere, those same people would then be saying, “They traded him for that!” Can’t have it both ways.

Even though the Leafs have some defensemen with the Toronto Marlies that are probably ready for the NHL such as Petter Granberg and Andrew MacWilliam, Franson deserves another kick at the can. His cap hit shouldn’t be too high after last year. He may even have to take a paycut, saving the Leafs money. Trading him might bring more salary back, which is something might not want to do given their other needs.

The Leafs will re-sign Franson to another short-term contract, possibly a one-year deal, and give him a chance to rebound from last season. If it doesn’t work out, you let him go after the season. If it does work out, then the Leafs made a great decision and can re-sign him for longer.

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