With the NHL off-season at the halfway point and signings slowing down, TSN’s hockey insider Darren Dreger tweeted that the Toronto Maple Leafs may be looking to deal defenseman Cody Franson. With Mark Streit’s departure, Franson could fill the offensive gap Streit left in the Islanders defense.
Franson trade speculation will heat up. Leafs would like to keep him, but $$ is too much. Prospect and draft pick fair return?
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 26, 2013
This past season, Mark Streit was above and beyond the Isles top producing d-man. In 48 games, Streit tallied 6 goals and 21 assists, as well as a couple big playoff goals. Streits offensive production will certainly be missed on the blue line. Lubomir Visnovsky was the second most producing defenseman, with almost half the production of Streit with 14 points.
The Islanders strength at the blue line is finally coming around, and there is much to be excited about with prospects such as Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Pullock, and Matt Donovon (just to name a few). As much as Isles fans would like to see some of these young guys hit the ice at the NHL level, there is a need for the now. With the recent news of the Maple Leafs possibly looking to deal Cody Franson, the Isles could, and should be serious contenders for the 25 year old.
Cody Franson had a stellar year in Toronto last season. Playing in 45 games, Franson put up 4 goals and 25 assists, in addition to 3 goals and 3 assists in the playoffs, numbers very similar to Streit’s production. In addition to being able to not only match, but out perform the numbers of Mark Streit, Franson is a much bigger body on the ice. Listed at 6’5″, 213lbs, Franson could add size to an Islanders defense that has lacked said problem for the past couple seasons. The two d-men we’ve seen with comparable size last season were Matt Carkner and Joe Finley, who together combined for 3 points in 38 games, were less than impressive. We’ll most likely see both in Bridgeport next season, so Franson’s size would certainly be welcomed.
Looking at Franson and Islanders defensemen from last season, it’s obvious why and where he’d fit within Jack Capuano’s gameplan:
|Cody Franson||6′ 5″||213||45||4||25||29||0.64|
|Mark Streit||5′ 11″||191||48||6||21||27||0.56|
|Lubomir Visnovsky||5′ 10″||197||35||3||11||14||0.40|
|Andrew MacDonald||6′ 0″||185||48||3||9||12||0.25|
|Travis Hamonic||6′ 1″||206||48||3||7||10||0.21|
|Thomas Hickey||5′ 11″||190||39||1||3||4||0.10|
|Brian Strait||6′ 1″||200||19||0||4||4||0.21|
|Radek Martinek||6′ 0″||206||13||3||0||3||0.23|
|Matt Carkner||6′ 4″||227||22||0||2||2||0.09|
|Joe Finley||6′ 8″||249||16||0||1||1||0.06|
It’s clear Franson would be a fit, but what would the Islanders have to give up to get him on the Island?
The Leafs are looking for a draft pick and a mid-level prospect. The most realistic option seems to be dealing a second round pick and sending Calvin de Haan to Toronto in exchange for Franson. de Haan is a promising prospect within the Isles organization and has great potential to make an impact on the main stage, but with his recent injury issues and pool of prospects in development, shipping out de Haan would be for the betterment of the club now, without losing too much.
Cody Franson would be a great asset for the boys in blue & orange. Although the Islanders have signed a couple defensemen this off-season to extensions, the gap left from Mark Streit’s departure is definitely not filled. Franson could not only be the solution, but be a great improvement at a key position.