Thursday, May 5, 2016

Impressions of, and questions concerning--D, Cody Franson

Reprinted with permission from

Defenseman--Cody Franson
DOB:  August 8, 1987 (age, 28)
Draft:  2005, 3rd round (79th overall,)  NSH
How acquired:  Free agent signee (NSH,) 2015
Last contract signed:  2015--2yr./$6.65M
Final year of contract:  2016-17

2015-16 Stats:  59 games played, 4 goals, 13 assists, 17 points, -5

What we wrote preseason:  After making waves at the 2015 NHL Draft, Sabres GM Tim Murray went in search of a veteran, left-handed defenseman. He ended up signing right-handed d-man, Cody Franson and the new Sabre laid it out as to which side of the ice he prefers to play on, 'I don't play the left side,' he told the Hotline's Kevin Sylvester and Andrew Peters, 'I actually struggle over there.'

In 2014-15 Franson was traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Nashville Predators at the trade deadline. Although the Preds acquired depth, it wasn't a good fit as Franson struggled. "Just what is the perfect fit for Franson? It would seem to be on the right side with plenty of powerplay time. That should work for the time being in Buffalo, and with the Sabres defense short on powerplay specialists, he'll have plenty of opportunity to excel in that role."

What we wrote mid-season:  "when he tries to step into one from the point oft-times it sails ten feet wide and has players ducking for cover all over the zone. He's got the intensity of Thomas Vanek and can skate just about as fast, neither of which are good things. Although he has some pretty good skills and I understand why he was signed, he doesn't seem to fit the mold of what GM Tim Murray wants out of his players. All said, he serves his purpose as a very affordable 3rd-pairing d-man with some powerplay acumen."
Impressions on his play this year:  From the get-go, I never really understood why the Sabres signed the big-bodied, rather soft Franson as he reminded me too much of the core they just dismantled. But he did grow on me as the year went on and an individual stats recap highlighted his strong third-pairing play with d-partner Mike Weber as the duo lead the team in the plus/minus category for December.

But that's not what he ultimately was brought on board for. In addition to adding a veteran presence, Franson was to help anchor the powerplay and contribute from the point. He finished an injury shortened season with only one goal and six assists in 2:08 average powerplay time per game. Franson suffered a concussion on February 19 and would not play the rest of the season. In his absence, a number of players took his spot in the lineup including Casey Nelson who was signed out of Minnesota State and looked the part of a point-man on the second powerplay unit.

Questions moving forward:  Does he fit in beyond this season, the last year of his contract?

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