Leafs Deal Franson and Santorelli

The first shoe has dropped since Maple Leafs President Brendan Shannon announced on Thursday that the MLSE board has granted he and General Manager David Nonis permission to rebuild for the future.

Defenseman Cody Franson and Forward Mike Santorelli are on their way to Nashville, the team that originally drafted both of them.  In return the Buds receive the Preds first round pick this year, as well as forwards Brendan Leipsic and Olli Jokinen.

“In preparation for the 2015 playoff run, our goal was to add a veteran defenseman who could play in all situations and a proven forward who could move up and down the lineup based on the situation” said Nashville GM David Poile.

He certainly accomplished both with one transaction.

Franson has been perhaps the Leafs best D-man all season.  With 6 goals and 26 assists in 55 games, the 6′ 5″ BC native was fourth on the team in points.  Santorelli was not far behind.  He was sixth with 29 points and was a +7 on a team that is nearly all minus.

The Leafs pick from the Predators this off-season will likely be in the high twenties or even thirtieth, depending on how well the best team in the NHL plays out the rest of the season.  The real value in the trade is 20-year old Brendan Leipsic.

Leipsic was taken in the 3rd round by Nashville in 2012, 89th overall.  He has moved his way up their prospect charts over the last three seasons since being selected.  The Winnipeg product put up 120 points in 68 games in 2012-13.  He followed that up with 91 more in 60 games in his final WHL season.  In 2014-15 with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL, Leipsic has netted 7 goals and picked up 28 assists in 47 games.  He’s also become a Brad Marchand type pest, supplying the kind of grit the Leafs could use.

Olli Jokinen was a mandatory requirement to complete the trade.  Nashville needed to trade dollars out to accept the contracts of Franson and Santorelli, so the veteran is now a Leaf.  However, his time in the blue and white may be short as it seems likely that he could be used to acquire another draft pick before the March 2nd trade deadline.

Now that the first shoe has dropped, it will be interesting to see what second step the Buds will take with bigger contracts and more underwhelming players that until now made up Toronto’s core.


Rodney Hiemstra


One comment on “Leafs Deal Franson and Santorelli
  1. core33 says:

    Who’s Brendon Shannon

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