NHL trade rumors: Maple Leafs looking to deal Cody Franson?

Jared Wickerham

The 25-year-old defenseman could be forced out with the Leafs nearing the salary cap limit.

The Toronto Maple Leafs currently have about $6 million left to spend under the salary cap, according to Capgeek. They still need to re-sign restricted free agent forward Nazem Kadri. Defenseman Mark Fraser's arbitration hearing will also make an impact on what the team does. This will likely force their hand into making a trade to potentially dump some salary.

According to Darren Dreger of TSN, defenseman Cody Franson may be the target. Franson is considered a valuable asset, but one who makes too much money for the club to keep everyone and still remain under the salary cap. Dreger reports that Franson -- a restricted free agent as well -- has an asking price at over $4 million per season. Franson played last season on a one-year deal that paid him $1.2 million.

The 25-year-old Franson was selected 79th overall by the Nashville Predators in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He became a regular with the team in 2010-11, before being traded to Toronto the following off-season. Franson put up 25 assists and 29 points -- both career highs -- during the shortened 2012-13 season. He also was a huge asset to the club in their playoff series against the Boston Bruins, in which he had three goals and six points in seven games.

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