Franson Signing Will Likely Cause Dominoe Effect
It’s been a long and patient summer for Cody Franson, but it has finally come to an end. Franson was considered one of the top free agents of the 2015 class, yet to the mystery of many hockey fans across the globe, remained unsigned until today, September 10th. Franson signed a two year deal with the Buffalo Sabres today worth 6.6 million total. The western Canada native had a great start to the year with Toronto, putting up 32 points in 55 games. However, after he was traded to Nashville at the deadline, he only had four points in 23 games, and two in five playoff games.
The longevity of the Cody Franson ordeal held teams to a standstill. Franson was rumored to be in talks with some other teams, including the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins, but nothing could be worked out and he eventually signed in Buffalo. This signing means that teams will start being more aggressive as training camp rapidly approaches, especially with all the veteran players out there for what seems to be a cheap price. Some teams have already started signing players to professional tryouts, including Brad Boyes with Toronto, Curtis Glencross with Toronto, and David Booth with Florida to name a few. The list of veterans still available for work is perplexingly long, and some names including Lee Stempniak, Sean Bergenheim, Jiri Tlusty, Andrej Meszaros, and Lubomir Visnovsky among others.
The Franson deal is what these players and general managers have been waiting for. Although there is an obvious trend in the NHL today with younger players getting more and more ice time, no team is going to let solid roster players or depth players sit dormant for the year on the free agents list. There’s still a lot of shifting to be done in the NHL for this upcoming season, such as the Islanders signing Brock Nelson before training camp, or the Panthers trying to sign Jonathan Huberdeau. The Blackhawks have less than 500k to sign Marcus Kruger, and Patrick Kane’s status is still up in the air. I’m sure there would be mutual interest between free agent and the Blackhawks on cheap contracts, but the cap may not be there.
All cap issues aside, the door is open now for the remaining free agents. Over the next few days you will be seeing teams announce players on professional tryout contracts for camp and those same players will likely take a cheap, short-term deal to try to build their value back up after an empty offseason.
The first of the final dominoes has been pushed.
You can see the full (and updating) list of PTO contracts here.