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.