Here we go again. It’s time to argue about Cody Franson, one of the NHL’s strangest enigmas.
The Chicago Blackhawks placed Franson on waivers today. He was invited to the team’s training camp on a PTO in September and inked a one-year deal worth $1 million.
Like I said, Franson is an enigma. He’s a darling of the advanced stats community and has been for quite some time. Back in 2015, he entered unrestricted free agency for the first time and was pegged as one of the market’s top available defenders.
But July 1 rolled around and he didn’t sign. The month went by and Franson didn’t have a contract. It wasn’t until September that Franson inked a two-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres well below the value expected prior to the off-season. That was odd because he had a strong season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, recording 32 points in 55 games before getting dealt to the Nashville Predators at the deadline.
Anyways, here we are again with Franson. Based on his numbers, he seems like a very solid player. With the Leafs, he put up a lot of points and was effective on the power play. In Buffalo, he wasn’t given power play minutes, but still managed 36 points in 127 games. For his career, Franson has consistently posted excellent underlying numbers, owning a positive shot attempt differential in relation to his teammates in every season of his career.
This year, Franson played 23 games with the Hawks and seven points in 23 games and a very impressive +9.2 Corsi For percentage relative to his teammates, which was the best on the team. His goal numbers were solid too, as the Hawks scored 52.6 per cent of goals with him on the ice.
So what’s the deal? Why, despite being a big defender with a good shot who routinely posts good underlying numbers, does nobody seem to want Cody Franson? Should the Oilers be interested in picking him up?
At this point, the team appears to be dead in the playoff race, so Franson likely won’t make a difference on the team. If they did put in a claim, they would likely have to jettison Yohann Auvitu, who fits the team better right now because he can play defence and forward.
Franson is a strange conundrum. He seems like a good player, but clearly there’s something wrong. I don’t think there’s much sense in the Oilers grabbing him on waivers either. What say you, Nation? Would Franson be a worthwhile pick-up? Why don’t teams value him?