Are the Maple Leafs any closer to re-signing Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson? Does Dion Phaneuf have a long-term future with the Leafs?
NHL.COM: Dan Rosen reports Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis believes he has enough cap space to re-sign Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson and that’s what he intends to do.
Nonis also said he’s had no contract extension talks with team captain Dion Phaneuf because “we’ve been focusing on other issues right now”, but added Phaneuf was “a core part of our team” and “there’s no reason to think he won’t be here for the long run.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per CapGeek, the Leafs currently have around $4.895 million in cap space for the upcoming season, so obviously Nonis believes he’ll get Kadri and Franson under contract for around a combined$4 million in order to leave some wiggle room under the cap to open the season. Nonis currently has all the leverage, as Kadri’s coming off an entry-level deal, while Franson opted not to file for arbitration.
Their only option is to hold out, though such moves are rarely successful. Of the duo, Franson seems the most likely to be dealt if he and the Leafs fail to reach an agreement. Nonis could wait and see how his defense performs without Franson during training camp and preseason before putting him on the trade block.
As for Phaneuf, Nonis will likely evaluate his captain’s performance over the course of the season before engaging in contract talks. I’d expect Nonis could offer Phaneuf a multi-year deal, but for less money than what he made on his current contract.
Phaneuf is eligible for UFA status next summer at a time when the salary cap is bound to go up, meaning more big market clubs will be interested in his services (hello there, Philadelphia Flyers) and could be willing to pay him as much, or maybe even more, than his current deal, especially if he plays well in his contract year. If the Leafs are out of playoff contention by the trade deadline in March, it wouldn’t surprise me if they put Phaneuf on the block.