The Maple Leafs have begun blowing the foundation up in Toronto, and more is expected to follow. Star defenseman Cody Franson, who is an UFA this season and is only 27 years old, was shipped off to Nashville, along with a solid NHL forward in Mike Santorelli. Santorelli has 29 pionts in 57 games played and is only 25 years old. Both will return to Nashville, who drafted them in ’04 (Santorelli 6th Round) and ’05 (Franson 3rd Round). The return on the trade is decent, a 2015 1st round pick, Olli Jokinen, and prospect Brendan Leipsic. In my opinion, the pick will be a late 20’s selection as Nashville is a serious contender for the cup this season, and is evident by this acquisition.
The Leafs gave the Predators monetary compensation for Jokinen and now have the ability to ship him to a buyer at the deadline, this year or in ’15. Jokinen is an NHL veteran, at 36 years old, who should have a few more years left in the tank.
Brendan Leipsic is a former 3rd round pick out of Winnipeg Manitoba. He is only 20 years old and is thought of being a small, gritty, in your face type, with solid offensive upside. He should offer top 6 talent, and is a great piece to add to the prospect pool.
Toronto will continue to blow things up, which I will get more in depth in a later article. Toronto will be serious sellers in the next weeks, stay tuned in, things are going to get interesting.
The Nashville Predators are going all in this year and acquired the top NHL defenseman available. Cody Franson will slide into a top 6 pairing and eat solid 20+ minutes, chip in on the powerplay, and is a solid puck moving d-man. Cody is familiar with the Predators organization, as he was drafted in the 3rd round by the Predators in 2005. Cody has really come alive the past 2 years and returns to Nashville in time for the playoff push.
Nashville also acquired Mike Santorelli from the Maple Leafs in the big trade on Sunday. Santorelli is another former Nashville draft product, 2004 6th round and will provide solid depth and push for top 6 forward minutes.
Nashville should make one or two more moves before the deadline, targeting goalie depth, and forward depth. Nashville is clearly making a cup push, and with Rinne healthy, they have a legit shot. The Predators are a dangerous and sneaky team come the post season, and have me rooting for them to go all the way.