Cody Franson: Is He A Good Fit With Edmonton Oilers?
Whitney had already been out of the Edmonton lineup for four games this season with a ankle injury.
A pillar on the Edmonton power play and their best puck-moving defenseman, the loss of Whitney will hit the Oilers hard, which may all but erase their impressive 5-2-2 start to the season.
With the Oilers off to a great start there is every reason to believe that Edmonton may look to acquire a defenseman to fill the void of losing Whitney.
According to capgeek.com, the Oilers currently have a payroll of $60,442,838, which leaves them with $3,857,162 in cap room.
While Edmonton is not known for spending right up to the cap limit, the Oilers could easily add a low to mid-range contract in the $800,000-$1.5 million range.
When you look at their depth chart there are few defenseman ready to step up to off-set the loss of Whitney. Call up candidates may include Jeff Petry and Oscar Klefbom, but neither one is ready to assume 20 minutes a night on the Oilers blueline.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been dealing with a bit of a logjam on defense with the likes of Mike Komisarek and Cody Franson taking turns on the sideline as the Maple Leafs sixth and seventh defenseman, while Keith Aulie—who played extremely well for the Maple Leafs in 2010-11—is on the farm playing for the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.
Ideally, Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke would like to trim some fat from his payroll of $63,329,198, which lends itself to trading Komisarek and his $4.5 million salary, but with Komisarek playing well below how a $4.5 million defenseman should be playing, there is little hope of Burke trading him anywhere— at least for now.
One option Burke may have is to explore the possibility of trading Cody Franson, which would allow him to call up Aulie.
Known as a responsible and reliable, offensive defenseman, Franson can play in most situations—power play, penalty kill and brings a decent puck-moving game to the table.
Carrying a cap hit $800,000, Franson is an affordable option for any team that finds itself with a long term injury, or is looking from an upgrade from their current fifth or sixth defensemen.
Franson scored eight goals and 29 points with the Nashville Predators last season, an eight point improvement from his 2009-10 numbers.
At just 24-years old, Franson still has a lot of upside and, given his skill-set, would fit in well on the Oilers defense.
What Edmonton would have to give up in return for Franson is unknown, but Burke is always looking to improve the depth of his prospects, especially at forward.
For my money, a move to Edmonton would rekindle Franson’s season and could be just enough for Edmonto to keep themselves in a playoff position while Whitney is on the mend.
Until next time,