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When free agency began, Cody Franson was a wide-eyed 27-year-old defenseman, full of life and optimism and thinking this summer would produce a contract offer that befit his 6-5 frame and 40-point potential.
As of Thursday, Aug. 27, Franson was a frustrated 28-year-old, sitting by while dozens of defensemen were gobbled up on the UFA market. Oh, there were “talks” rumored with teams like the Boston Bruins. But nothing concrete.
Then, finally, some movement: Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News reports that the Buffalo Sabres and Franson are in talks, and one assumes he likes what he’s hearing: Instead of another one-year stop-gap deal, Franson and the Sabres are talking about a two-year deal.
From the News:
According to two NHL sources, the Sabres are trying to lure former Toronto and Nashville blueliner Cody Franson by offering a two-year contract. Franson, who turned 28 on Aug. 8, has been linked in the rumor mill this month with teams such as Boston, Pittsburgh and Columbus but is almost certainly seeking a multi-year deal. His has played on one-year contracts the last three seasons. He made $3.3 million last season.
Franson was a dud last season for the Nashville Predators after being acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs: one goal, three assists in 23 games, seeing his ice time go from 21:23 with the Leafs to 15:25 in Nashville.
One assumes he’d get his minutes with the Sabres, who could use his right-handed shot and veteran presence. They have Josh Gorges and Zach Bogosian in the top four. But Franson could help keep the pressure off Rasmus Ristolainen and Mark Pysyk, and limit the necessity for someone like Carlo Colaiacovo to play significant minutes. Or any at all.
And obviously, his impact on special teams can’t be understated: He’s averaged roughly 17 points on the power-play over the last three seasons; Ristolainen led all Sabres defensemen with nine points on the worst power-play in the League last season.
So it would seem like a good fit for both, and Die By The Blade agrees:
A two-year deal makes sense for the Sabres, who will have to deal with adding big contracts in Ryan O'Reilly, Jack Eichel, Zemgus Girgensons, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen in the next couple of years. A long-term deal at a big number could leave the Sabres strapped for cash.
Well, in the salary cap sense. We all know Terry Pegula has enough money to buy Donald Trump.
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