It’s been quite the season for Cody Franson.
After last night’s 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, Franson extended his career high point streak to nine games. It’s a production level not seen from Franson before.
The previous high for the Leafs defenceman was four straight games with a point, something he had done on three previous occasions, the latest one being February 27th to March 6th 2013.
Franson has 14 points in 18 games this season and sits sixth among defencemen in scoring. The five players ahead of him have played in more games this season.
“It’s his ability to get the pucks to the net, not get it blocked. He gets some primo minutes on the power-play and Franny has the shot,” Carlyle said following Friday’s practice. “We’re just hoping he continues to develop and we can trust and use him even more.”
Franson is on pace for 62 points this season, which would shatter his previous season high of 33 points. During the lockout shortened 2012-13 season, Franson registered 29 points, which would have projected to 50 points over an 82 game season.
It’s the first full season for Franson in several years that has felt normal. He was acquired in a trade from Nashville in 2011 to begin his first full campaign as a Leaf. The following year was a lockout shortened season. Last season, Franson missed a majority of training camp due to a contract dispute.
“It’s nice to contribute,” said Franson. “You just try and do everything you can to help your group try and move forward. Individual stats are just a bonus.”
There hasn’t been anything dramatically different in his game. Franson is averaging less ice time per game than he had been in previous seasons. He’s always been known for having a good shot. But he’s right. The individual stats have been a bonus. They’ve merely been a proper representation for the Leafs improved offence through 20 games.
|season ||points-games-points/game ||Leafs Goals for Average |
|2011-12 ||21 - 57 - 0.368 || 2.77 |
|2013 ||29 - 45 - 0.644 ||3.02 |
|2013-14 ||33 - 79 - 0.417 ||2.71 |
|2014-15 ||14 - 18 - 0.778 ||3.15 |
The Leafs potent offence has allowed for Franson to pick up the points rather quietly. His nine-game point streak is the NHL’s highest right now. So long as the Leafs keep up a goals for average above three, chances are that production will continue.
David Booth was assigned for a conditioning stint to the Marlies on Friday. Carlyle notes that should Booth hold up well in two games with their AHL affiliate, he should be set to rejoin the team before they go to Pittsburgh.
Joffrey Lupul skated in a full practice with the Leafs, but has been ruled out for Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Phil Kessel left practice early after suffering suffering a stiff neck. Carlyle doesn’t expect he will miss any time.