The Nashville Predators resolved their biggest remaining free agent situation today, signing young defenseman Cody Franson to a two-year deal that NHL Preds Insider reports will be worth $1.6 million (or $800K per year). (Note: this was originally reported by Joshua Cooper.)
The team provided a little more information about Franson, including his solid rookie year in 2009-10.
Franson, 23 (8/8/87) posted 21 points (6g-15a) in 61 contests for the Predators a season ago, becoming just the second rookie defenseman in franchise history to hit the 20-point mark (Dan Hamhuis, 2003-04), tying for fourth among first-year blueliners in points, and ranking third in goals. The 6-5, 213-pound native of Sicamous, B.C., also led all rookies and ranked second on the team in plus/minus rating (+15), and paced all rookie defensemen in game-winning goals (3) in 2009-10. Franson played in four of Nashville’s six postseason games this past spring, notching his first career playoff point/assist in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. Chicago.
Nashville’s third choice, 79th overall (third round), in the 2005 Entry Draft spent two seasons with the Milwaukee Admirals before moving onto Nashville, being named a Second-Team AHL All-Star in 2008-09 and to the AHL All-Rookie Team in 2007-08.
(Useless fact: Franson is one day younger than Sidney Crosby. I know this because of Crosby’s obsession with the number 87, as in his birth date [8/8/87] and annual average salary.)
I agree with Dirk Hoag of On the Forecheck’s assessment that this is a good deal for the Nashville Predators. Franson has the potential to exceed the value of his contract but won’t be tied up with a low salary for too long while the Predators can cover their backs in case he fades into irrelevance.
This just about covers the team’s moves for the summer, barring a few tweaks here and there. The team could be under the cap by about $12 million, so if they make the playoffs again, they’ll be getting one of the best bang-for-the-buck performances of any NHL teams. Franson could be a big part of that.
What a start.
This series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might be headlined by Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, but as many have said in the lead-up to tonight’s opener, there is so much more to this second round matchup than that. Washington’s 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1 tonight could be offered up as Exhibit A.
This game had everything except big offensive showings from Crosby and Ovechkin. They had their moments, but in the end combined for just one assist.
What we got instead was a hat trick by T.J. Oshie that was completed with a game-winning goal that made it past the line by such a narrow margin that it warranted a video review:
This game also featured a sequence of three goals in 90 seconds and yet also some great saves by goaltenders Braden Holtby and Matt Murray. At the other end of the spectrum, there was a controversial hit by Tom Wilson that might lead to a suspension.
There was even some odd stuff. Like how Jay Beagle got a stick stuck in his equipment.
If this game sets the tone for the rest of the series, then we should be in for a closely contested, highlight filled affair.
— Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. Evgeni Malkin and Ben Lovejoy accounted for the Penguins’ other markers.
— Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky scored the game’s opening goal. It was his first marker of the 2016 playoffs.
— Washington outshot Pittsburgh 15-9 in the first period, but Pittsburgh ended up with a 45-35 edge.
— This is the first time in the 2016 playoffs that Braden Holtby has allowed more than two goals. He surrendered just five goals in six games to Philadelphia.
— Matt Murray suffered his first career postseason loss after winning three straight contests against the New York Rangers.
Tom Wilson has already found himself in a controversy for delivering a late, knee-on-knee hit to Penguins forward Conor Sheary in the third period of Game 1 Thursday night.
You can see that incident below:
Wilson spent two minutes in the sin bin earlier in the contest for crosschecking Evgeni Malkin, but there was no penalty on this play.
Fortunately Conor Sheary was able to stay in the game. The question now is if Wilson’s actions will lead to him being suspended prior to Game 2.
This isn’t Wilson’s first brush with controversy. He delivered a big hit to Brayden Schenn in 2013, but Wilson wasn’t suspended for that incident. Lubomir Visnovsky’s final campaign was cut short due to a check by Wilson that angered the New York Islanders. More recently, Nikita Zadorov was concussed by a crushing blow from the Capitals forward.
In 231 career regular season games, Wilson has 50 points and 486 penalty minutes.
Related: Wilson says ‘I’ve never been a dirty hitter’ after teams voice complaints
For the first 30 minutes of Game 1 between Pittsburgh and Washington it looked like goaltenders Matt Murray and Braden Holtby might outshine these star-studded offenses. Then the floodgates opened up, if only for a moment.
Washington already had a 1-0 lead going into the second frame courtesy of Andre Burakovsky‘s first marker of the 2016 playoffs, but Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin scored back-to-back goals within the span of 57 seconds midway through the second period to tilt the scale in Pittsburgh’s favor. That lead didn’t last for long though as Capitals forward T.J. Oshie got a breakaway opportunity and took full advantage of it.
In total, there were three goals scored in the span of just 90 seconds and you can see all of them below:
After that sequence, the 2-2 tie held for the remainder of the frame. However, Oshie was able to reassert Washington’s edge just 3:23 minutes into the third period.
Through 40 minutes of action in Game 1 of the second round series between Pittsburgh and Washington and we’ve already seen some big moments, along with a pretty unusual one.
Beagle ended up with a stick lodged into his visor towards the end of the second frame. He tried to get it out himself, but ended up having to go to the bench for assistance. You can see that below: