Sun, Feb 15, 2015 at 3:32pm


The Nashville Predators acquired defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli from the Nashville Predators for forwards Olli Jokinen and Brendan Leipsic, plus a first-round draft pick in 2015.

What does it give the Nashville Predators
The Preds have the NHL's best record right now (with 82 points) so are in obvious 'buy' mode, and they land two very solid pieces here. Franson may be one of the NHL's most underrated blueliners, as he's top-20 in the league in both blocked shots (109) and hits (153), while also top-20 among NHL D-men in points (32). Meanwhile, Santorelli is a decent two-way forward who can play several positions and roles. Both players are unrestricted free agents after this season, so if they don't pan out the Preds can move on. A strong deal here, by a team in a strong position.

What does it give the Toronto Maple Leafs
One day the Leafs may regret moving the oft-overlooked Franson, but they deserve some credit here for making needed changes and cashing in on two pending UFA's. Franson was one of the trade deadline's plum prizes, and they get a very solid return here for him and Santorelli. The first-round pick should eventually turn into a core piece for them, while Leipsic is a near-NHL-ready forward prospect who profiles as a potentially top-tier agitator. Jokinen was clearly included for financial reasons and, at age 36, obviously isn't part of Toronto's rebuild. Expect him to be dealt again before the NHL's March 2 trade deadline.

Fantasy impact
Franson should stay as productive as ever, and should find himself quickly inserted into the Preds' second pairing and power play unit. Santorelli's production as well should stay fairly constant (with a third-line role likely), and both he and Franson should get a 'plus' rating boost with the move to Nashville. While Franson's minutes and role will likely sap some fantasy value from young Preds D-men {P Seth Jones} and {P Ryan Ellis} (once he gets healthy), Santorelli should only help the fantasy values of those around him (since Nashville needs more lower-line scoring). On the Toronto side of the deal, the already-rising fantasy fortunes of emerging young defensemen {P Morgan Rielly} and {P Jake Gardiner} should improve even more with Franson's minutes up for grabs. As for the newcomers: if the Leafs decide to call up Leipsic down the stretch, he might have some fantasy sleeper appeal (thanks to his ability to log solid point totals plus penalty minutes); but Jokinen's already-minimal fantasy value won't likely change much.

Player focus

Toronto Maple Leafs

a first-round draft pick in 2015

Brendan Leipsic LW

Olli Jokinen C/W