Maple Leafs acquire Franson, Lombardi from Predators

{eot} Staff
7/3/2011 4:11:46 PM
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired defenceman Cody Franson and centre Matthew Lombardi from the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenceman Brett Lebda and forward Robert Slaney.

The deal also includes a fourth-round pick – Nashville will acquire Toronto's 2013 fourth-rounder if Lombardi plays 60 or more regular-season games over the course of the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, while Toronto will acquire Nashville's 2013 fourth-rounder if Lombardi does not play 60 games during the next two campaigns.

Predators general manager David Poile says that while he is giving up a lot of talent in the deal, these moves will allow his team more flexibility going forward.

"Unfortunately, Matthew Lombardi's concussion last season and recovery left us uncertain about his ability to come back for this season, and that uncertainty has made it difficult for us to move forward, plan and develop our lineup," Poile said in a statement. "We never like to give up young homegrown talent like Cody Franson, but we have to give up something in order to put ourselves in position to do other things to improve our team, which we are committed to doing between now and training camp."

Originally selected in the third round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Predators, Franson is entering his third season in the league.

Last year the 23-year-old blueliner set career highs with eight goals and 21 assists. He also contributed six points in 12 playoff games for the Predators.

"I'm real excited about the opportunity to go in there and try to play a big role on that team," said Franson on a conference call on Sunday. "I want to go in there and really try and help produce."

Franson has been a plus player both seasons in the league, finishing with at plus-10 last season and a career high plus-15 in his rookie year.

Lombardi missed almost the entire 2010-11 season, his first with Predators, after suffering a concussion in the second game of the year against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The 29-year-old forward tumbled awkwardly into the boards and after playing a few more shifts that game did not appear again for the remainder of the season.

"I've come a long way since then," Lombardi explained during a conference call. "My everyday stuff is getting pretty close to normal, I've seen a lot of progress the last few months.

"Obviously it has taken a long time but I'm pretty confident I'm near the end. I'm getting better. I'm not there yet but my goal is to be ready for training camp."

In 2009-10 Lombardi, then a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, had 19 goals and 53 points in 78 games.

He had a career-high 20-goal season as a member of the Calgary Flames in 2006-07.

He was drafted by the Flames in the third round of the 2002 Draft and made his debut with Calgary in 2003-04.

Lebda appeared in 41 games for the Leafs in 2010-11, picking up four points and 14 penalty minutes.

A free agent signing with the Leafs in 2010, Lebda spent his previous five seasons with the Detroit Red Wings.

He was a member of the 2008 Stanley Cup-winning Red Wings team, appearing in 23 games and contributing six assists and a plus-eight rating.

Lebda signed with the Red Wings as an undrafted free agent in 2004.

Slaney spent the majority of the 2010-11 campaign with the ECHL's Reading Royals, notching 24 points and 34 PIMs in 61 games.

The 22-year-old forward also appeared in nine contests with the AHL's Toronto Marlies, posting one assist and two penalty minutes.

Cody Franson (Photo: Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)


(Photo: Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
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