Photo Credit: © Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Franson is on waivers

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.

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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?

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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?

  • BringitbacklikeSlats

    Pick him up and sign him to $3mil per based on his incredible “advanced statistics”…
    What a joke Corsi is as an individual players metric. And so many here drink the Kool Aid


    A RHD 6’5″ Defenceman with upside on a Million dollar contract what’s the downside grab him. Warts and all he has to be better than Gryba and a couple others.

    • BringitbacklikeSlats

      I do agree it probably wouldn’t hurt to consider it as there’s not a lot going right the way they’re going. It would represent the 50th roster spot and that doesn’t leave any wiggle room. It sound a like Stauffer doesn’t think it’ll happen so I’m guessing it probably won’t.

      • Gravis82

        Why on earth does the 50th roster spot matter at this point? Ok, the last roster spot could be used finally on something that could help the team, but no, lets keep it open because we don’t want to be at the max because of a bunch of players we signed earlier who are doing nothing.

        • crabman

          flexible in a trade is why the 50th roster spot matters. No point adding Fransen at this point. And who do you.put on waivers to add him. I would argue he isn’t enough of an upgrade on our current players to lose one of them to waivers. and if they aren’t lost to waivers we lose our trade flexibility and take playing time away from prospects in the AHL. No upside to picking him up at this stage in the season.

  • Oilers should absolutely put in a claim to Franson. He’s right-shot, which the Oilers lack and only have in Larsson and Benning (with Gryba in the minors). They need him on special teams to provide some right-shot offense and to cut off the cross-ice pass on the PK. Having Auvitu as both a forward and defense really isn’t an ideal situation and only a convenience.

  • Neddd

    The sad thing is that Franson likely became expendable and is on waivers only because of the recent play of Jordan Oesterle. If you recall, Chiarelli let Oesterle walk for nothing last summer, at around the same time that he signed Russell to a 4 x $4mln contract….

    I’m not a Russell hater, but if cap space is a major concern, then Oesterle offers $3.35mln in cap space versus Russell, plus the Oilers wouldn’t be on the hook for a four year contract on an aging player (30yr old versus a 25yr old).

    One more example (of many unfortunately) of Chiarelli being schooled by another GM. Chicago saw value in Oesterle when Chiarelli didn’t and it wasn’t even much of a risk for them, it only costed them a $650k contract x 2yrs.

  • Jordan88

    Pick him up, if he performs well and helps us turn the ship around he can either be resigned or he can make millions as a UFA.
    If he doesnt he can be REALLY good trade bait at the deadline.

    Its win win for both parties.

  • Friesenhan

    I am surprised you think Auvitu fits the team better. I would rather have a big RHD who is a power play quarterback (has that not been one of our biggest flaws?) over a guy who can be both a 7th defenceman and a 13th forward. Sure, our playoff hopes are all but gone, but that is no excuse to not upgrade the team-especially if we as fans are expected to watch the games.

  • Gravis82

    Right shot? Look at his hero charts, he’s will probably be our third best defenseman. There is no way to not put a claim in. Can things really get worse in that locker room?

  • TKB2677

    If he was a left shot, no Oiler fan would want him because he’s lousy but because he’s a right shot, Oilers fans think they should pick him up. No thanks. The Oilers need REAL NHLers not #7 at best dman. They already have Gryba who’s a #7 in the minors. They have Auvitu who’s a #7 at best. They have Fayne who’s a #7 at best. They have Stanton who’s a #7 at best. They have Davidson who’s a 6-7. Even Benning who has taken a BIG step back is a #6 at best. How many more freaking #6-7 dmen do the Oilers need?

      • TKB2677

        If you actually believe that, either your last name is Franson or you don’t know hockey. You talk to anyone out there, Franson is at best a #6. Klefbom hasn’t been great this year but he’s not a freaking #6.
        People can hate on him all they want but Russell is not a #6.
        Larsson is not a #6.
        Sekera is coming off an injury but is not a #6.

        If you want to play him above Benning, sure I can buy that to a degree. Franson can’t skate but Benning has been terrible.

        • jultz=2cups!??

          Please explain how benning has been terrible?? Is oilersnation trying to jultz him and blame him for the bad season so far? He has 1 less point than klefbom and his plus minus at evens is 12 points better than klefbom. Benning has been fine as a 3rd pairing d. If anyone’s been “terrible” it’s oilersnation favorite abs klefbom.

          • BringitbacklikeSlats

            Oh yeah everybody’s favourite… he’s so “dreamy”. ?
            Pretty good skater and passer when he has time but the kid can’t defend. He’s really not what you’d call a cerebral player. No idea where he’s supposed to be at times or what he needs to be doing when he is there. For all the love he gets he’s prett ham fisted out there if you ask me. His big clapper sailing 3 miles wide of the net, and an inherent inability to finish a check behind his net.
            He’s ok and maybe he’ll settle down. He was decent in the playoffs. But Frankly I don’t see him as better than a #4 on a good team.
            Deep into a playoff run he’s going to make a lot of coaches nervous with his erratic reads. But what do I know. I don’t believe in Corsi as an individual Player metric so I guess I shouldn’t even have an opinion.

        • oilerjed

          He was waived because Bowman deemed him expendable due to younger D playing equally well and Stan wants to use that cap hit on scoring up front in a drive to make the playoffs. Doesn’t mean that Franson is horrible, mostly just means they have no intention on resigning him.

    • btrain

      When they come with no risk and in this case a decent ceiling based on previous performance, why not? We already know what Gryba, and Fayne are all about. We generally have an idea of what Auvitu, Benning, and Davidson are about. Franson has had better seasons than all of these players and the Oil could have an over 30 game tryout for him to see what he is about. On this squad he is probably the second best right shot defender immediately, and easily the best right shot option on the PP from the point. A big right shot makes for a better situation when your top forwards are lefties set up on their offside on the PP.

  • grumpyKoala

    Pick him up. If you remember Kassian was a reclamation project that turn out pretty well. That was reclamation project are for, the risk is minimal, the celling high and if it doesn’t turn well then throw it away. 26 position team with no playoff hope have the luxury to try thoses out. Now if you look at where we at…

  • btrain

    I would put a claim in for him. This organization is short enough as it is with Right Shot defenders. It gives a little more competition down the stretch as guys compete for jobs next year. I don’t believe Avutu is the reason you shy away from the claim. That be like shying away from a deal because it may bump a Phillip Larssen caliber player on the depth chart. Franson has a lot to prove and little time left to prove it. In a setting where he could quickly be the second best right shot defender and a PP option, perhaps this is where he regains his former self. I really don’t see the risk in this acquisition.

  • Mitch92

    In a lost season partially caused by an anemic power play why not add this big shot PP specialist? If it doesn’t work out we are only out a paltry half million.

  • CMG30

    Seems strange that PC wouldn’t have tried to pick up a defenseman who puts up points and is good on the PP. I mean, it’s not like his didn’t know that he was going to be down a top D man for about 3 months to start the season.

    Oh wait. That’s not strange at all. I forgot we were talking about the Harvard man. I’m sure he’s the smartest guy in the room.

  • Snoop Scottie Dogg

    If Chia doesn’t waive the Frenchman for Frazee he’s crazy. Auvitu sits more games than he plays AND franzan has a right shoot on the PP. Remember the PP….

    He may not be the ideal PP guy but he would be the closest we had since Souray. Let’s see what the PP would have looked had Chai signed a RHD in the off-season.

  • Heavy Stick

    Well let’s say we move Auv-e-too oit and pick up Franson. How does that help us?
    We have Klef a simular player who has underproduced offensively and literally stinks defensively. We are moving towards the puck movers and apparently puck moving doesn’t seem to keep pucks out of the net.
    Why is he bouncing around like a cut cat? He stinks defensively!
    The corsi crowd fails to see this because the rely on numbers not understanding to make their points.