The NHL offseason has been highlighted by blockbuster free-agent signings and trades, but there are still rumors swirling around other players with the potential to make a difference for a Stanley Cup contender.
With players like Cody Franson and Joffrey Lupul reportedly drawing interest on the trade market, rumors have started to pick up about potential deals that could come to fruition.
Here is the latest chatter about potential trades.
Newly Signed Cody Franson May Be on the Move?
The Toronto Maple Leafs avoided salary arbitration and re-signed defender Cody Franson to his third consecutive one-year deal worth $3.3 million, according to Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star.
As James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail reports on Twitter, though, Toronto may be looking to move the defender via trade now that he has signed:
Was told early in weekend that Leafs would settle in $3.25-million range. Same source said Franson would then be dealt, so we'll see.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) July 21, 2014
At only 26 years old, Franson has plenty of upside. Not only has he been a solid offensive contributor throughout his career (he racked up at least 21 points in each of his five seasons), he also can step up in the defensive zone and shut the opposition down.
If the Maple Leafs don’t see Franson fitting into the team’s game plan moving forward, there will be several teams interested in a player who managed to add 18 points on the power play last season.
There is no question that Franson has shown inconsistency in his game at times, but the offensive advantage he brings to any power-play unit makes up for his lapses in concentration in the defensive zone.
Franson should draw serious interest throughout the season.
Teams Kicking the Tires on Joffrey Lupul?
Another player on the Toronto Maple Leafs drawing interest on the trade market is forward Joffrey Lupul, but his high-priced contract could be a major snag in any possible deal.
According to CapGeek.com, Lupul will make $5.25 million each of the next four seasons.
In a report from Elliotte Friedman, via HopeintheBigSmoke.ca, Toronto has received several inquiries about the availability of Lupul:
Friedman "the Leafs received a couple of calls for Lupul, but he's a 25 goal guy making $5.25 million."— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) July 21, 2014
Another possible holdup could be a limited no-trade clause on his deal. Lupul can submit a 14-team trade list and easily block a potential deal to a team he wouldn’t feel comfortable playing with for the next several years.
The 30-year-old veteran is a great second-line player when he is healthy and managed to showcase his offensive skills by totaling 22 goals and 22 assists last season. While he can be a defensive liability at times, Lupul would add firepower to any team’s arsenal.
If a team is serious about acquiring Lupul, it will take the perfect storm to make the deal happen.
Not only must the franchise looking to make the trade have the salary-cap room to take on Lupul’s contract, the team must also put together an offer enticing enough to get Toronto to make the move.
It won’t be easy, but never say never in the NHL.
*Stats via NHL.com.