KUKLA’S KORNER: reports the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox reports the Toronto Maple Leafs have dealt defenseman Brett Lebda and forward Robert Slaney to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Cody Franson and center Matthew Lombardi. Conditional picks could also be heading to Toronto, depending on Lombardi’s health.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wow, guess the Maple Leafs are capable of swinging a big deal with GM Brian Burke overseas in Afghanistan supporting the troops after all! OK, so it’s not a major blockbuster, but this one could have the potential to be a major win for the Leafs. Franson was considered one of the Predators promising young blueliners, while Lombardi was a good second line center prior to getting waylaid last season by concussion. If Franson develops as anticipated and Lombardi can make a full recovery from his injury, they’ll have added significant depth to their defense and scoring lines for this coming season. As for the Preds, this moves screams “salary dump”, shedding Franson’s and Lombardi’s combined $4.3 million for next season in exchange for Lebda’s $1.45 million (Slaney and $575K are likely earmarked for the minors), clearing space for what will likely be their re-signing of team captain Shea Weber.