I'm not a big fan of this episode for a number of reasons, but the Matt Franklin thing is not one of them. As others have pointed out, no one would have accepted that a character we know or love was killed, off camera, in a transporter accident.
It may seem nitpicky, but for me, one of the biggest issues with this episode is Scotty seemingly seriously advising Geordi that he should lie to his captain about repair times. They took what was an obvious joke between friends in TSFS (when Scotty says "eight weeks, sir, but you don't have eight weeks, so I'll do it for you in two") and takes it seriously. Really did a disservice to Scotty's character, IMHO.