Updates on Cody Franson, Jordin Tootoo and Ales Hemsky.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis noted TSN’s recent report claiming the Toronto Maple Leafs could consider moving restricted free agent defenseman Cody Franson. Willis observed the Oilers need to bolster their blueline depth, but after analyzing Franson’s performance stats, doesn’t believe he’d be a good fit with the Oilers.
TORONTO SUN: The Cody Franson trade rumors don’t make much sense to columnist Steve Simmons, noting the progress the blueliner made last season under Leafs coach Randy Carlyle. Simmons wondered if Leafs management were starting those rumors in hopes of reducing Franson’s salary demands.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It comes down to cap space. The Leafs currently have over $58.4 million invested in 20 players, giving them roughly $6 million in cap space to re-sign Franson, Nazem Kadri and Mark Fraser. We don’t know what Franson’s asking price is (he made $1.2 million last season) but if he’s seeking, say, over $3 million per season, that won’t leave much to re-sign the other two and still give the Leafs some wiggle room under the cap to start the season. The Leafs want to keep him, but if Franson’s asking price remains high, they could have little choice but to move him.
MLIVE.COM/FOXSPORTS DETROIT: cite sources claiming the Detroit Red Wings have held talks with the Nashville Predators about returning Jordin Tootoo to the Predators. Tootoo signed with the Red Wings last summer as an unrestricted free agent, but saw limited playing time last season with the Wings. Tootoo spent his entire NHL career with the Predators prior to last summer.
The Wings currently have a glut of forwards on one-way contracts and want to move one or two, but the Predators also have a logjam at forward and would need to move one to make room for Tootoo and his $1.9 million per season contract.
Both outlets also noted the potential availability of Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson, speculating over whether the Wings might have interest in him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have over $4 million in cap space and can afford to bring Tootoo back, but they would have to ship out another forward to do so. The Wings are also trying to dump salary so they apparently don’t want much (draft pick or prospect) in return for Tootoo.
As for Franson, the Wings reportedly haven’t spoken to the Leafs about him, and with the Wings moving into the same division as the Leafs, the latter might be unwilling to deal with the former.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson noted the difficulty facing the Oilers in trying to trade winger Ales Hemsky this summer. Matheson wondered if the Ottawa Senators might have interest after losing Daniel Alfredsson to Detroit, though he noted Senators ownership might not wish to take on more salary. The Nashville Predators feel they need a veteran defenseman now, especially after signing forwards Viktor Stalberg, Matt Cullen, Matt Hendricks and Eric Nystrom. Until the New Jersey Devils signed Jaromir Jagr, Matheson thought they could have been a good fit for Hemsky. He noted the NY Islanders, Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets had cap space but they already have depth on right wing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the wrong summer to shop a player like Hemsky, who is undeniably talented but has a lengthy injury history and carries a $5 million salary heading into a season in which the salary cap is dropping for the first time. Perhaps as the season unfolds, and if the Oilers are willing to absorb part of Hemsky’s salary, the trade market for his services could improve.