Cody Franson’s Very Long Summer

USATSI_8492364_154158418_lowresThe Cody Franson saga continues to roll along this summer, with several teams apparently circling the wagons for the best defenceman available in free agency. What’s taking so long?

Franson mentioned last Tuesday that there were “five or six teams” with “some very interested ones” among their number. “Cap situations” were cited as the obstacle to getting a deal done, however, and that continues to be the major issue keeping Franson out of a contract.

Franson is coming off a set of one year deals, with his next contract serving to be his fifth in a young career. He’s only 27 and he wants something more long-term.

Some of the talk has circulated around the fact that Franson’s long-term desires are keeping him out of signing with a club, which is kind of silly when you think about the calibre of defenceman he is.

On most NHL teams, he’ll slot in at the third spot in the depth chart and is statistically proven to help contain the opposition’s offensive opportunities. What’s more, he’s a right-handed 6’5 blueliner. How many of those are there waiting in the wings? I’ll wait.

The book on Franson is still being written, of course, but right now there’s a hell of an argument for his reliability and skill as a pure defenceman. Stephen Burtch floated a good one in December of 2014 that’s worth a read for anyone doubting the blueliner’s talents.

But in effect, this comes down to the teams. Who’s in the running and who can work with Franson? There are some possibilities.

The Arizona Coyotes have to be considered among them. They have the coin and can offer the term Franson wants. They are among the rumoured teams talking to him and they’ve got a deep prospect pool, as we’ve outlined. The fun starts when you think about viable pairings for Franson, like one with Oliver Ekman-Larrson for instance. The prospects can round out from there, creating a surprisingly deep group.

Boston is also a possibility and the Bruins have been talking to Franson. The defenceman even spoke with former Bruin Milan Lucic about his tenure in Boston, which suggests some serious interest on both sides. Obviously the Bruins are in the market for a defenceman, what with an aging core and few options on the horizon. The downside is the cap argument, which suggests that the Bruins won’t be looking to part with the green to get Franson lined up.

As for Toronto, Franson says that he hasn’t been talking that much with his former club. That doesn’t mean the doors are closed, but it also doesn’t suggest a working set of negotiations.

With July nearly set to turn the page, it’s hard to imagine Cody Franson hasn’t found a home yet. It looks to be only a matter of time, but there are some issues at play that are keeping him out of signing that big deal and that can make for a very long summer indeed.


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