There are lots of good links to share with you today, including a number of pieces on Cody Franson avoiding salary arbitration with a last-minute deal worth $3.3M for next season.

From Justin Fisher at TLN:

That $3.3M figure falls pretty much down the middle of Cody Franson's reported asking price of $4.2M and the Leafs' offer of $2M flat. These numbers, that every team and player submit prior to arbitration, are always a joke. The player will always ask for too much, while the team will always offer too little.

Again from TLN, Jeffler concludes that:

In short, Cody Franson is probably the best player in his position/age/salary/term range. That part is good, and if he has any form of resurgence this year, that $3.3M cap hit will look pretty good. The only issue, of course, is that it's such a non-ideal range to be in to begin with, and likely leads to him not being around a year from now.

A lot of things can change between now and next summer (and as Leafs fans, that's really the best we can hope for), so I think it's a bit early to be making such pronouncements, but as the Leafs' management is now, I agree that it's unlikely Franson is in their long-term plans.

For now, the main task facing the Leafs' management is simply filling out their roster without being too tight up against the cap. Again, from the Fisher article:

The Leafs now have about $9.2M remaining in cap space, with James Reimer and Jake Gardiner still to sign, and a seventh defenceman to add (probably Granberg and his $800K cap hit). While we all wait in anticipation of those new Reimer and Gardiner contracts, it's likely the Leafs enter the season with a nice cap cushion of approximately $3M. That ain't half bad.

My guess is that the Leafs come out of this with less than $3M in cap space, but that will hinge on how well Reimer does either in arbitration or in negotiation and whether Gardiner wants a bridge deal or something with a bit of term on it. Early indications are that he's looking for a bridge.

Now, on to some links:

At CBC, Elliotte Friedman has a big 30 Thoughts for you this time around, since it's his last of the summer.

Steve talks about getting married in this one, too. From TLN.

Yep. Something to do with gambling. I guess he's not the one up on charges, though. Story from TSN.

Hm. Seems like he's trying to cash in on bigger money next summer. Story from TSN.

OK, it's not crazy, but still. Story from CBC.