The Buffalo Sabres are gearing up to make a statement this upcoming season. Sure, they are in the middle of a rebuild, but with the acquisitions and additions they made this summer, the Sabres slammed down on the accelerator and are putting together a pretty good team (on paper at least).
Now, they are rumors that the Sabres are looking to land former Toronto Maple Leaf and Nashville Predators defenseman Cody Franson. I have written a couple of articles on Franson’s free agency woes and how he was looking for more than just a one-year deal. Buffalo just may end up being his savior.
Saying this summer has been rough for Franson is an understatement. He watched older players and even less experienced players find their homes early in the offseason, while he waited, and waited and waited. There were rumors of talks with the Boston Bruins, but nothing panned out in his favor.
Well, his luck looks to be changing—and just in time too. According to multiple reports, the Sabres have offered him a two-year deal.
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.
He would be a good addition for the Sabres. He is a right-handed shot and big-bodied defenseman (6-foot-5 and 213 pounds). Franson also brings a veteran presence to a young team and would prevent the Sabres from having to use young or inexperienced players, or players past their prime (Carlo Colaiacovo).
The Sabres won’t only benefit from his defensive skills, but also his ability to contribute on special teams. Over the course of the last three seasons, Franson averaged approximately 17 points on the power-play. Bleacher Report also stated that Franson is “one of just 10 defenceman to play at least 500 minutes and score more than 4.5 points/hour on the power play over the last five seasons.”
Being that the Sabres power play was ranked dead last in 2014-15, they can use all the help they can get.
Last season, although he tanked in Nashville, Franson put up a career high 36 points in 78 games. He is also a great puck mover and an offensively minded defenseman. He exhibits patience and could be a valuable asset to the young Sabres team.
Here is another great thing, Franson just turned 28. That means, he can be a part of the Sabres organization for many more years. This isn’t just a one-and-done type of deal. While Franson may not improve his game by leaps and bounds, he will have the power to make an impact over the coming years. He has potential and that is always a good thing.
This is a mutually beneficial situation. Franson brings the goods to Buffalo, while Buffalo has cap space to cough up the dough. They have about $12 million in cap space left. Obviously, they aren’t going to throw that kind of money at Franson, but it is nice to know that they have some wiggle room to make the deal happen.
Even without Franson, the Buffalo Sabres have made huge strides in their development. They are putting together the pieces for a playoff-caliber team. Adding Franson to the mix will only increase their chances at a postseason spot.