Cody Franson Scouting Report by Gus Katsaros and Ryan Dadoun
The promising young defenceman was the target in a deal that sent Matthew Lombardi and his $3.5 million cap hit to Toronto. Cody Franson struggled with the transition with an unimpressive showing during training camp. It lead to a press box stint for the first two regular season games. His best stretch was from Nov. 19 to Dec. 9 when he scored three goals and seven points in 10 games. The Salmon Arm, British Columbia native averaged 1:31 power-play minutes per game, but he only logged a total of 3:19 shorthanded minutes in 2011-12 — by far the lowest total of any Leafs defencemen. He ended up with a career-high .368 points-per-game (57-5-16-21) and a respectable minus-one rating on a team that was a collective minus-149. Still, he is prone to making major errors, mental and positional. The six-foot-five puck moving blueliner finished the season with 102 hits, but doesn’t utilize his size to its full advantage. He tends to lean heavily on his positioning and instincts defensively. An injection of snarl would enhance crease presence. While less than impressive when skating backwards, he’s mobile overall and can carry the puck. It’s difficult to force Franson into making a mental mistake when he has the puck and he’s got a nice, soft pass. The 25-year-old only has 19 career goals, but he is a threat to score thanks to a howitzer from the point with a shoot-first mentality. Luke Schenn being jettisoned offers Franson a unique opportunity to secure a spot as a regular all season.