Report: Despite trade offers, Leafs want to keep Franson

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The Toronto Maple Leafs received some trade offers for pending free agent defenseman Cody Franson, but the deals haven’t been strong enough to pry him away. With that in mind, the team would prefer to re-sign him, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

It appears that Franson, 26, will be a restricted free agent. (He turns 27 on August 8.)

The offensive defenseman experienced a 2013-14 season that’s likely to produce some scorn from certain circles, although it gets trickier when you consider his work when compared to his teammates.

First, the things that aren’t up to debate: Franson set new career-highs in assists (28), points (33) and average time on ice (20:42) last season. He also finished with the worst plus/minus (-20) of his career, which will draw that aforementioned scorn.

That being said, the Maple Leafs were a team that drew serious criticism from the “advanced stats” community, so some will wonder if his shakier numbers come down to the system more than the player. His possession stats leave a lot to be desired, yet Toronto seemed to perform relatively better when he was on the ice than when he was not.

Chances are that other teams will weigh the -20 rating and 33 points and give him a mixed review, which might be fair enough. In other words, the Maple Leafs might be correct in believing that he’s worth more to them than anyone else at this point.

Negotiations could take a while considering his debatable value, but the good news is that it’s unlikely either side will get sued in the process.