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Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Speculation: What Could Cody Franson Bring in a Trade?

Jeff LangridgeCorrespondent IIIJuly 26, 2016

Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Speculation: What Could Cody Franson Bring in a Trade?

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    The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a position that they haven't been in for quite some time. They are the first-place team in the Northeastern Division and third in the Eastern Conference. While it might not be that way for long, the Leafs can take comfort that they have gotten off to a good start.

    One of the pluses to being in the position they are in is that Brian Burke doesn't have to make a trade in panic. He can, however, take advantage of other team's misfortunes and use them to advance his team.

    The Leafs have an abundance of defensemen, and many other teams are looking for exactly that. One of the Leafs defensemen that might be available is Cody Franson, as brought up by ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.

    Brought over in the offseason, Franson hasn't exactly lit the Leafs on fire in his time with the Leafs. Now, it's only eight games into the season and Franson has played only three, but he is a player who could fetch a pretty good return by himself.

    Keep in mind that I'm just listing the principle return for the Leafs. There could be draft picks or prospects heading either way as well. That being said, here are some possible players that could be acquired in a deal for Cody Franson.

To Edmonton for Sam Gagner

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    Sam Gagner might be on his way out of Edmonton. A natural center, Gagner has been forced to the wing, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Shawn Horcoff and Eric Belanger occupying the top three spots.

    There was speculation earlier that Gagner could be a target for the Leafs, but it turned out to be just that: speculation. That being said, Gagner might be a good fit in Toronto.

    He is a pure playmaker, and if he were given the shot to play with Phil Kessel, be it five-on-five or the power play, both players point totals would go up.

To Columbus for Derick Brassard

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    Derick Brassard is in the same boat as Gagner. The No. 2 center in Columbus might have his job taken by Ryan Johansen if he stays with the Blue Jackets.

    He is more of a project than Gagner, but if he plays up to his potential, then the Leafs will be in a very good position.

To Phoenix for Kyle Turris

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    Kyle Turris has yet to play a game this season because of a contract holdout, and it is quite clear that he has played his last game in Glendale. As much as Don Maloney doesn't want to trade a young asset like Turris, it's better to trade an unhappy player than to have him bring down the locker room.

    If the Leafs were to acquire him, he would join the Leafs' developing young core. He is a good two-way player and would be a good second-line center, if not a first-line center, down the line. The only question is whether he would take down his contract demands for the Leafs.

To Montreal for Max Pacioretty

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    I know a deal between Toronto and Montreal is very unlikely, but Brian Burke and Pierre Gauthier might be willing to deal if it improves both teams.

    The Canadiens are in desperate need of a defenseman right now, and Franson might be able to help them in the long run as well. Growing up a Leaf fan, though, Franson might not be too happy.

    Max Pacioretty might be a good second line player for the Leafs, providing additional scoring and some toughness as well.

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