Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Franson: Have Gun, Will Travel

One year ago, Kris Russell was a free agent trying to find a place to land. The market dried up in a quick hurry and he was left stone alone. Eventually, the Edmonton Oilers came calling and Russell signed a team-friendly one-year deal with the team. Russell was rewarded this summer with a lucrative four-year deal, something that may put the team in good stead this time around. Russell’s experience may send a message to free agents in a similar spot: The Oilers are a good place to land.

Cody Franson is a free agent currently and could help a team. Edmonton is a little more settled on the blue line this year and so the match may not work. That said, with Andrej Sekera injured and the Oilers possibly ratcheting up for a Stanley Cup run, a player like Franson, with a reasonable contract, could come in damned handy in 2017-18.


  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.89 (No.1 among regular Sabres defensemen)
  • PP points per 60: 1.22 (No. 5 among regular Sabres defensemen)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 50.8
  • Corsi Rel 5×5 %: +1.8
  • DFF Elite 5×5 %: 50.5
  • DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %: 3.2 (31 percent of TOI v. elites)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 93 shots/3.2%
  • Boxcars: 68, 3-16-19
  • (All numbers via Puck IQNatural Stat Trick and hockey-reference)

The numbers above are all positive, Franson’s possession numbers are in the black and he played 31 percent of his 5×5 minutes against top-level opposition. He would give the Oilers another veteran hand, and a reasonable power-play option (although he didn’t play much there one year ago) if required.

I fully expect to see Cody Franson sign in Chicago or New York or somewhere in California. I know his foot speed is one reason the Oilers might not sign him. I get all of that. I think signing Cody Franson would be a good transaction for the Edmonton Oilers. We wait.

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        • The Sultan

          Brouwer, I understand. Too much money for too long a term. Stone, however, would be on the second pairing in Edmonton if not the first. He’s going to be used as trade bait in the next season or two to make room for our PLETHORA of defensive prospects (Valimaki, Andersson, Kylington, Fox). Let’s not throw stones in glass houses.

      • Andy61038

        Well Johnny hockey has allot better stats then draisitle for almost 2 mill a year less. Deffinitely too much for a fifth d And brouwer is a terrible contact.

          • Andy61038

            Well johnny had a 0.88 career ppg And draisitle has i think a 0.71 career ppg. In hockey higher is better. Your thinking of golf where low score wins. Though I guess you’ve had 11 straight years of golf.

        • MattyFinch

          Who is Draisitle? What does allot or Deffinitely mean ? You expect anyone to take you seriously yet you’re unable to spell?! Not even the player, whose stats you looked ups name is correct.. lol

          BTW, the last 2 seasons, Draisaitls PPG is .83. Hes also a center, which carries significant value. Using the 37 games he played in his “rookie” season to dilute his actual production is such a lames fan thing to do.

          Lastly, it was 10 years of golf, not 11. Focus more on all those first round picks you gave up in the pursuit of making the second round of the playoffs all those years, that you didn’t, and less on a stat that is also no longer relevant like the years we missed the playoffs. Last time i checked, 2 through 31 miss winning the cup every year. Oh, and the word and does not require a capital a when its used mid sentence.

          • Hockeyfan6778

            Well that’s still less ppg. Plus he hasnt proven himself as center. He actually did petty bad at center. I know this as he was in my hockey draft. His points were as a winger on mcdavids wing.

            Now he is a vey good player still. Did really well in playoffs. But still a bit of overpayment.

  • OriginalPouzar

    A Franson signing would push Gryba back to the pressbox which is probably a good thing (not that I don’t like Gybs but Franson is a better puck mover).

    It likely helps keep Russell on the left side full time which would be fantastic.

    Competition with Benning for 2PP.

    Extra depth leading to a better battle between Simpson/Auvitu/Stanton for 8D (if we do carry 8 d-men).

    May push Ben Betker to the ECHL (if he isn’t already slated to start there).

    Depth is good.

    Do we think Franson may still be holding out for term? Obviously anything over than one year is a non-starter for our organization.

  • JimmyV1965

    Would love to get him on a PTO, but someone will probably offer him a contract. The pickings are slim at defence. I think
    Edmonton would likely be one of the best destinations in his eyes. He could possibly revive his career here. That might not be the case with many other teams. The power of McDavid and having a good team.

  • Copper

    If Edmonton is such a great destination, why 4×4+NMC for Russell? Or 6×7+NMC for Lucic? It appears that edmonton may be a destination for UFA’s for overpay, over term, NMC’s

    • MattyFinch

      Lucic was going to get 6×7 with the NMC regardless of where he went. Vancouver offered him more money in fact, so that’s irrelevant. The 4×4 for Russell is par for the course in my books. The NMC is likely something they gave him out of respect. He wants to be in Alberta, as hes from here and lives here. Engage that bowl of Jello in your skull my friend.

  • TKB2677

    I hear the advanced stats guys that cover the Oilers talk about Franson non stop. He’s a right hand shooting dman who supposedly moves the puck well and puts up points. But his skating is weak, he’s a liability defensively and for a point producing dman, he’s scored squat his last 2 seasons. So what I don’t get with all these advanced stats guys drooling over him is if he is so good, why is he not signed? In the era where dmen are highly coveted, where puck moving, offensive dmen are coveted even more and where right handed, puck moving, offensive dmen are what GM’s have dreams about. Why is a right handed, supposedly puck moving, supposedly offensive dman STILL out of a job right now? He’s coming off a 3.25 mill contract. Maybe on July 1 he was looking to not take a paycut, so given his seasons in Buffalo, his ask was too high for teams at the start of free agency. But as the weeks and now MONTHS have passed, you have to think his price point has come down a lot. I bet if some team were to offer him a guaranteed 1 or 2 yr contract rather than a PTO, you could probably sign him for pretty cheap. There is 31 teams in the NHL. You can’t even say he is old at soon to be only 31. So if he is everything all the advanced stats guys say he is, why is he still unemployed?

    • Rock11

      With very few alterations this post could have been made last year referring to Russell. Now half the fan base thinks he is indispensable and is thrilled to have him signed for the rest of my natural born life. Sometimes for these UFA’s everything doesn’t come up Millhouse.