With the Toronto Maple Leafs’ regular season opener mere days away, restricted free agent Cody Franson has finally inked a one-year, $2 million contract, according to Sportsnet.
Franson, 26, went into this summer with four straight 20-plus point seasons under his belt. Of course, that accomplishment was most noteworthy in the shortened campaign when he scored four goals and registered 25 assists in 45 games.
In the short-term, this signing makes it less likely that 19-year-old top prospect Morgan Rielly will be one of the defensemen to make the team’s opening game roster. As it is, Toronto now has seven blueliners inked to one-way contracts, not including Jake Gardiner. This deal also puts the Maple Leafs in a somewhat difficult cap situation, but at the same time, Franson’s cap hit is about as low as they could have reasonably hoped for.
In the long-term, the Maple Leafs inability to ink Franson to a long-term contract could prove to be costly. Franson will have arbitration rights next summer and could command a sizable raise if he has another strong season.
For now though, Franson is just happy that this is behind him.
“This is my dream place to play,” said Franson. “I grew up a Leafs fan. We’ve got a lot of unfinished business as a team and I feel like we’re moving in the right direction. It’s obviously something I want to be a part of.”