Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cody Franson: To play or not to play, that is the question

One thing I think all Leafs fans have suppressed from their memories already is that Brett Lebda played "defense" for the blue and white last year, that is because, somehow Brian Burke hoodwinked Nashville's GM David Poile to take him off our hands. In return we received Matt Lombardi, who's brain wasn't fully functional yet after a hit that sidelined him for 80 games last year, and Cody Franson the "soft" offensive defenseman, who actually was a pretty damn good hockey player for the Preds in 10-11.

Now, on December 12th, 28 games into the season Cody Franson has played 13 games, while Matt Lombardi has suited up for 19. Who ever thought that would happen? Not to mention Lombardi has been hurt for the last 9 games, and Franson hasn't even broken a nail. So the question is, why can't a young dependable defenseman, who played for the third best defense last year, not crack the Maple Leafs 5th worst defense? I can't find a reason, in fact I have a whole bunch of reasons why he should be playing every game, without having to look over his shoulder in fear of someone taking his spot.

Franson was one of the Preds top defenseman in the 10-11 season, some may even argue that he was in their 'top 4'. Franson was great at pushing the puck towards the opposition's net, he was third in Corsi and third in Corsi rel (this is the difference between a players Corsi and the teams Corsi while that player is off the ice). Cody was also first in P/60, beating out guys like Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, obviously the biggest reason being that he had significantly less ice time then the two of them. There is no denying that Franson played sheltered minutes with the Preds, but not everyone can play against other teams top lines, and he did a great job with the minutes he was given.

Cody Franson is not the guy that you're sending out on the penalty kill, or the guy you send out while clinging to a one goal lead, but this doesn't make him expendable, every team needs to have players that fill the other roles, and in order to win hockey games they need to fill them well. What he has done so far this year is be one of the best defense we have at pushing the puck down into the opposition's end (8.1 Corsi rel). He now has 6 points in his 13 games with only 13.54 minutes of ice time a night at even strength and 1.42 on the powerplay, this puts him tops on the Leafs defense corps in P/60. Does this seem to be a recurring theme to anyone else? It is my belief  that Franson could be a guy that plays 14-15 minutes a night at even strangth and upwards of 2 minutes a night on the powerplay, and if he got those minutes he could easily be a 40+ point scorer for us. He just needs to be played.

Throw any comments you have in the comments section.
Andrew Bates @phoking_awesome


  1. I stopped reading after the word "Corsi" but Franson is definitely better than Komisarek. Komi's been playing better, which hopefully will raise his trade value, but Franson is a solid two way defender, who is still developing and has tremendous offensive upside and has a fraction of the cap hit Komi does. Meanwhile, the flat-footed Komisarek is routinely injured, slow and costs way too much.

  2. Ha! well don't worry i'll have a post explaining Corsi up soon.