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.
CODY FRANSON 2016-17
- 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 IQ, Natural 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.