May 13, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson (4) checks Boston Bruins left wing Milan Lucic (17) into the boards during the first period in game seven of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Franson can add more than size to Islanders defense

It’s been quiet on the Cody Franson front for a few days now. The defenseman has expressed his desire to sign a one-year extension with the Maple Leafs.

The deal is not happening any time soon. Toronto offered the 26-year old a two-year deal and either side is not budging at the moment. The Maple Leafs are pushing for a multi-year deal to limit the number of unrestricted free agents come next off-season  They’ll have eight already in 2014 including their captain, Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel.

The longer this deal stalls, the more likely Franson signs with someone else; and the Islanders could use a standout defenseman entering the prime of his career. Well, the Islanders could use another defenseman, period.

There are plenty of options listed on the roster, and it seems that there is depth, but the tip that the team was not completely satisfied with its defense was when they brought in Radek Martinek for a tryout last week.

While the Islanders have plenty of young, talented defensemen on the rise with the likes of Travis Hamonic fresh off signing a seven-year deal, along with Griffin Reinhart, Matt Donavan and Calvin De Haan competing to make the squad, someone like Franson can team up with Andrew MacDonald and Lubomir Visnovsky to help develop this defense into one of the better units in the league.

At 6’5”, 213, Franson also can bring muscle to a backline that see its better defenseman play a more finesse, offensive-minded brand. Franson can put up 20-25 points a season, but he’s the kind of player that knows his role as someone to deliver a big hit and break up the play.

With the progress Hamonic and MacDonald have made together as a first pairing, Franson could be put on a second unit and help eliminate some fringe defenseman like Matt Carkner and Joe Finley.

While there is a decent possibility the likes of Reinhart and De Haan do not make the team this year, this will open the door for the possibility of a call-up sooner than later. Pairing the youngsters with someone like Franson is a lot better of an option than what the team might have to offer if they don’t pursue him.

Tags: Cody Franson New York Islanders NHL

  • John Whitty

    This would be a coup for an Islander defense who could use another back liner…let’s get this guys.

    • im4theLeafs

      If the Leafs would be of a mind to move him(and I do not believe they are) you would have to get in line because there are a number of teams that could use him and would make a move for him, just not offer sheet.

  • anthony russo

    yeah i have been watching this situation closely hoping the isles would get him

  • [email protected]

    Franson played sheltered , 3rd pairing mins. Why would anyone think he would automatically be an upgrade, on the isles top 4?

    • Andy Graziano

      He averaged almost 23 minutes per night in the playoffs (19 regular season), hardly top pair but not sheltered in my opinion.

      Would add tremendous size to a back-line that is sorely in need of some.

      • [email protected]

        @Andy, during the season Franson played the most shifts against the other team’s 3rd and 4th lines. He was 2nd among the defensemen for PP TOI.He had practically no pk mins.

        I don’t want Snow giving a sheltered defenseman $4m-$5m a season. If the isles want the next MA Bergeron, then give Matt Donovan sheltered mins and tell him not to worry about playing hard in his own end of the ice.

  • Toronto14

    Guys, Cody is NOT an unrestricted free agent. He is a ‘restricted’ free agent, hence why Toronto is holding firm on their multi year offer. Not only that… Cody chose not to go to arbitration and basically has no rights. The islanders would need to put an offer sheet out to him and lose first round draft picks to get him. Not a chance that is happening. Get your facts straight before you post an article like this.

    • Andy Graziano

      Leafs fans…./smh

      Franson turns 27 next season which will make him eligible to be an UFA if he signs a one year deal this year. So Joe is CORRECT there sir.

      Maybe you should get your facts straight first before commenting.

      And since when is an offer sheet the only way out? Ever hear of a trade and sign?

      Good luck this season with Clarkson. He should be so worth that deal you gave him.

      • Toronto14

        Hey Andy,

        I understood this article to be a suggestion that they sign Franson this year, not next year (from how I read it). The leafs (this year) hold the cards on Franson and are not budging until they get a 2 year agreement… which likely makes him unavailable.

        • [email protected]

          @Toronto14 , I understand why Toronto is holding out for a two yr deal. But, I will be surprised if Franson signs a two yr deal since he could be a ufa next summer. I guess it will come down to what type of start the Leafs get off to. If they struggle out the gate, it puts pressure on Nonis. If they get off to a strong start, it puts pressure on Franson to sign.

  • HockeyNorth

    Islanders should not be tampering with another team’s RFA. Not how they want to do business and wouldn’t want it done to them. Although is technically within the rules, is looked upon with disdain amongst GM’s. Let’s not be that guy!

  • Tim Bayer

    Uhhh, can you take Liles instead? PLEASE???

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