We’re still all quiet on the Cody Franson front, which has many analysts stumped. Franson is a decent possession player when you look at career Corsi and Fenwick. He’s the youngest “big name” defenseman left un-signed in unrestricted free agency. He played 68 games for the Buffalo Sabres, who were admittedly porous defensively, but finished with a minus 5 on a team where no one broke a plus 3. What’s most intriguing is his ability to skate combined with his overall size – 6’5 and 224 pounds. Franson also has a right-handed shot from the point, something many teams are lacking and actively seeking. He’s the prototype for a #4 defenseman in today’s NHL, and at only 30, has more hockey left in him. There’s been nearly no smoke around this player as we finish the third day of free agency, and that alone is befuddling.
- Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff believes his Jets “are a cap team now”, and he’s willing to spend accordingly per Postmedia’s Ken Weibe. Cheveldayoff has been infamous league-wide for his reluctance to make too many roster moves – it took him the better part of three seasons to even make a trade. That said, he seems to be embracing a more proactive role in management. On July 1st he signed defensemen Dimitri Kulikov and goaltender Steve Mason to expensive contracts, and moved on from veterans Chris Thorburn and Mark Stuart. With his core players entering their primes, the time to compete is apparently now.
- Patrick Marleau had a quality radio interview with TSN 1050 Toronto earlier this evening. There were a few good quotes that resulted, but nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps the most humorous moment in the segment was when Marleau insisted that he’s still “full of (pee) and vinegar…just like these kids”. Marleau apparently mulled over the decision for more than a week, weighing the pros and cons of the decision to move on from San Jose, the only franchise he’s ever played for. Ultimately, he cited his confidence in the management team, the exciting younger players in Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, and the aggressiveness of the team to compete right away as reasons which tilted the scales in favor of the Leafs. The third year on the contract offer, which will take him to age 40, probably provided him lots of incentive, as well.