Cody Franson is tired of the whole one-year contract thing.
Like really tired. He doesn’t seem to want to go season-by-season anymore, which is what he did the last three years. But in his unrestricted free agent summer, the defenseman remains unsigned.
And the longer this goes, the more we wonder about Franson and why. This is his golden moment, when he’s supposed to cash in. He’s a 27-year-old 6-foot-5 right-handed shooting defenseman with offensive ability. But he still seems to not have found the correct team or the best price.
With the NHL salary cap barely zipping over the $71 million mark and teams having to jettison higher-end players for lower money options, Franson seems to have hit the UFA market at the wrong time.
Franson went on Sekeres and Paterson on TSN 1040 in Vancouver and was open and candid about some of his frustrations in not getting a new contract yet.
“Obviously, I’d like to do something more than one year. I’m sick of one-year deals. We’re open to all suggestions, really.”
When asked if he was looking at $5 million per-year – a contract that would make sense for him – he said he was looking for something “reasonable” and that he and his representatives gave a “ballpark” to teams. His last contract was ‘duh’ for one year at $3.3 million.
Overall he said about five or six squads had contacted him. He wants to keep the door open with Toronto, one of his former teams. Boston intrigued him. The Dallas Stars were also rumored on Franson at one point, but seem out of the sweepstakes after making moves for Johnny (six pack) Oduya and Patrick (so hot right now) Sharp.
The Bruins actually have about $4.764 million of salary cap space for next season per General Fanager.
“With the trade they made with (Dougie) Hamilton and some of the other stuff they’ve done, they’re one of the teams that we’re in talks with.”
No pending UFA saw his value tumble last year the way Franson’s did after being traded from Toronto to Nashville. He had 32 points in 55 games with the Leafs. Then after the February deal that sent him and Mike Santorelli to the Preds, he notched four points in 23 games. He averaged 21:23 per-game with the Maple Leafs, and then went down to 15:25 per-game with Nashville.
Franson’s a top-four defenseman who was just put in a bad spot. The team had a glut of right-handed blueliners with Shea Weber, Ryan Ellis and Seth Jones. All three had played together for the last two years and knew the team’s system. This put Franson on an island. As On The Forecheck shows, his advanced numbers display a defenseman caught in the wrong spot.
“As much as I love that city (Nashville) it was difficult to go back to playing in that role. I want to be a guy that’s counted on and not get put back in a depth role. You definitely have to take that into consideration amongst all other things,” Franson said. “If you ask any right-handed defenseman, the left side is no-man’s land for them. It’s unchartered territory.”
So what’s the best fit? A short-term deal to play for a contender? A long-term contract for security for the first time in his career?
Franson has indeed earned a long-term deal with a better team. But as of right now it seems like he won’t get it.
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