The Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday traded defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators for forwards forwards Brendan Leipsic and Olli Jokinen as well as a 2015 first-round draft pick, the Predators announced.
The move sends both Santorelli and Franson back to the organization that drafted them in 2004 and '05, respectively. After a stint with the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals, Franson played for the Predators from 2009-11. The 29 year old Santorelli has 11 goals and 18 assists for the Leafs this season over 57 games, while Franson, 27, has six goals and 26 assists this season in 55 games.
Nashville's goal heading into the playoffs was adding a "veteran defenseman" as well as a "proven forward," Predators general manager David Poile noted in a team release.
Toronto, in full rebuilding mode after a difficult 2014-15 season, will acquire in Leipsic a 2012 third-round draft pick. He has seven goals and 35 points in 47 games for the Admirals.
Jokinen, a 36-year-old journeyman defender, has three goals and three assists so far this season.
While Nashville's forfeited draft pick is likely to be a low first-round pick based on the Predators' record, it could be important for the Maple Leafs. Toronto lost its 2015 second-round draft pick as a result of a trade with the Los Angeles Kings last season.
The Maple Leafs (23-29-5) are tied for fifth-fewest points in the league, while the Predators own the NHL's best record at 38-12-6.
Both teams have home contests this Tuesday. The new-look Leafs will play the Florida Panthers, while the Predators host the San Jose Sharks.
- Will Green