Report: Leafs, Franson $2.2 million apart 2 days ahead of salary arbitration hearing

Thomas Drance

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a player-elected salary arbitration hearing with defenseman Cody Franson scheduled for Monday. The rules of salary arbitration, which are governed by Article 12 of the 2013 NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining agreement, state that the two sides have to exchange briefs no later than 48 hours prior to the scheduled opening of the hearing. 

Those briefs generally include a desired "figure," and Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman is reporting that the divide between the two camps remains significant just two days before the scheduled hearing:

Franson declined to file for arbitration last summer, and struggled to follow up on a career year during the lockout-abbreviated 2013 campaign this past season. Still, the always efficient point producer managed five goals and 33 points in 79 games.

Looking at the contracts handed out to group two restricted free agent defenseman like Jason Demers, Slava Voynov, Roman Josi, John Carlson, Cam Fowler, and Dmitry Kulikov in recent years, Franson's $4.2 million ask seems reasonable based on the minutes he's logged and his offensive production over the past couple of years. 

Because Franson is one year away from unrestricted free agency, any award in arbitration will result in a one-year contract, per Friedman. The Maple Leafs will only be able to walk away from a potential arbitration award if that award comes in above $3.5 million (subject to an annual increase of the same percentage as the increase in the average league salary), per article 12.10 (d). 

[This article has been updated to reflect the fact that the $3.5 million walk away limit is adjusted annually by the same percentage as the increase in average league salary]