With a new CBA still in doubt, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson has signed a contract to play a full season with Brynas of the Swedish Elite League.
Franson, a restricted free agent, has yet to sign a new contract with the Maple Leafs. The 25-year old came to Toronto in a trade with the Nashville Predators which saw himself and Matthew Lombardi head to Toronto.
Franson played in 25 games with the Blue and White last season, registering five goals and 16 assists (21 points) through 57 games.
Used sparingly to start the season, Franson acquitted himself in the second half of the season, often finding himself in the lineup in place of Mike Komisarek, who struggled to stay in the lineup last season.
While Franson is set to play the entire season with Brynas it has been suggested that he has an out-clause that would allow him to return to the NHL should he get a contract offer from the Maple Leafs.
Once the 2012-13 NHL season begins (fingers crossed) several defensemen will be competing for jobs on the Maple Leafs roster including Korbinian Holzer, Jesse Blacker as well as the aforementioned Franson and Komisarek.
Reports from the Toronto Marlies revealed that one-time Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger arrived in training camp in top-notch shape, earning the title as the fittest player on the team.
While Ranger (28) is still a long shot to make the Maple Leafs roster his recent physical test results are said to be impressive, which should get the attention of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke and head coach Randy Carlyle— who is said to be putting a premium on fitness this season.