The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Olli Jokinen, prospect Brendan Leipsic and a 2015 first round draft pick.
“In preparation for the 2015 playoff run, our goal was to add a veteran defenceman who could play in all situations and a proven forward who could move up and down lineup based on the situation,” general manager David Poile said. “We were fortunate to do this in the same transaction with players who are in the prime of their careers more than two weeks before the trade deadline in order to give them more time to contribute and jell with their teammates.”
The Predators are currently tops in the Western Conference and are looking to push deep into the post-season, obviously. Franson is a big get for them because he puts in serious ice time and has amassed 32 points in 55 games this season. The Predators are already remarkably solid along the blueline, so this makes them all the more dangerous.
Santorelli, meanwhile, shouldn’t be underestimated. Nashville has acquired a versatile forward with the ability to slot in at centre or to play wing. Santorelli has 29 points in 57 games this season, including 11 goals.
Both Santorelli and Franson are set to become unrestricted free agents in the summer.
In Jokinen, the Maple Leafs receive a veteran performer. He’s also set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, having signed a one year deal with the Predators last summer. Jokinen has just six points in 45 games this season. It’s doubtful he’s stay for long in Toronto.
As far as Leipsic goes, he was selected in the third round by the Predators in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He’s been skating with the Milwaukee Admirals in the American Hockey League and has 35 points in 47 games. Leipsic was also effective in his junior career with the WHL’s Portland WinterHawks. In his final two season, he collected 211 points in 128 games.
This is clearly a case of the Maple Leafs being sellers. The Predators have made out like gangbusters on this deal and that’s a good thing for their playoff hopes. Franson and Santorelli are nice additions, while the Maple Leafs let Jokinen go at season’s end and might want to take a close look at Leipsic. And as always, the pick will come in handy.