Even with his long history of positive possession statistics, Cody Franson has found it difficult to find a regular role in the NHL. Last season saw him agree to a professional tryout with the Chicago Blackhawks before eventually earning a one-year contract, but he ended up playing most of the season in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs. This time around, he won’t be fooled into spending the year in the minor leagues. Franson has signed a two-year contract with Avangard Omsk in the KHL, where he will play for head coach Bob Hartley and beside other former NHL players like Kris Versteeg.
At 31, a two-year deal may mean that any chance of a return to the NHL is out of the question for Franson. He’ll now begin a new chapter in his hockey career, and try to show why he can still be a valued member of a defense unit at both ends of the rink. Though there are certainly foot speed issues, Franson still possess an excellent first pass out of the zone and an uncanny ability to get pucks through traffic and on net. He registered 28 points in 37 regular season games with the IceHogs last season and even scored six goals in 13 playoff games.
Originally selected in the third round of the 2005 draft he was part of a defense factory in Nashville and played with other young stars like Ryan Suter, Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Klein and Shea Weber. Always a solid point producer, he’s sitting at 212 through 550 NHL games and could end there if he doesn’t get another chance down the road.