TORONTO - Cody Franson was all smiles on Thursday afternoon.
So was Maple Leafs assistant general manager Claude Loiselle, who was pleased that Franson — tied for sixth among NHL defencemen in scoring last season — finally had signed with the club.
But Loiselle’s respite was brief, given that he’s in charge of the team’s salary cap or, more importantly, that the Leafs stay below the $64.3-million ceiling for the 2013-14 season.
With Franson back in the fold on a one-year, $2-million pact, Loiselle and the rest of the Leafs’ management team have added to the list of expiring contracts among defencemen. Franson becomes the fifth, joining captain Dion Phaneuf, Mark Fraser and Paul Ranger — who would be unrestricted next summer — and Jake Gardiner who, like Franson, will be restricted.
Of those who could be considered regulars, only John-Michael Liles and Carl Gunnarsson are under contract past the coming season.