With non-stop action in the free agent and trade market that takes place on July 1st a lot of the headlines made that day carry on for a few weeks. Then when the dust settles there’s always a few players who are left behind that are head scratchers. Cody Franson tops the list of free agent head scratchers who have yet to find a home.
On Friday when the Bruins wrapped up their annual development camp general manager Don Sweeney was quoted in an article by Bruins beat writer Joe Haggerty stating, “There are a couple of free agents that we’re still having conversations with that feel might improve our club if the financial component works,” when referring to the defensive corp situation. All signs point toward Cody Franson.
Cody Franson was a free agent that I, and probably most, thought would scoop up one of those bloated five-year, $5 million-per-year deals that free agents often take teams for when they can get overpaid. The defensive market wasn’t deep and he’s a 27-year-old right shot who can log solid minutes. That’s a recipe for over payment. But no one bit. Instead it was Andrej Sekera, Mike Green, Francois Beauchemin, and Johnny Oduya who got paid. Other than Oduya I’d say the other three still got more than they probably should have. So could Cody Franson be the guy the Bruins grab to aid a top-4 pairing? It’ll come down to the money, which leads me to believe they’ll eventually pass.
The only other true options for the Bruins in free agency at this point that could be argued make sense is Marek Zidlicky or Christian Ehrhoff. Both have some offensive prowess that’d help the power play, and both would be very affordable options that can chew up good minutes despite being significantly older. It would show the Bruins feel this is a somewhat bridge year in terms of investing a lot of money into a defenseman. And it would also show they have confidence in the young defensemen in their system. Cody Franson however will command at least $4 million per season and want at least 4 years. That kind of contract is not worth it to the Bruins right now if you ask me. The Bruins really need to find out what they have in Zach Trotman, Joe Morrow, and Colin Miller. I thought last year when Morrow and Trotman were called up they looked strong considering they were thrown to the fire due to all the defensive injuries the Bruins had. If they continue on their trajectory and show they’re capable the Bruins money is much better spent on their own young defensemen they’ve developed; players who’ve grown in Providence and know the culture and system.
Cody Franson’s play, age, shot, and skill-set make him a pretty solid fit for the Bruins on paper but it seems to me the free agent contract he would command trends toward the old way of doing business; overpaying. Also, the Nashville Predators traded a 1st round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Franson at the trade deadline this past season. They could have re-signed him but opted to just let him go which waves a red flag for the Bruins and other teams when you consider it cost Nashville a 1st round pick to get him. If the Bruins really want to add to the top 4 defensive spots because they feel the young guys aren’t ready they’d be better off putting together a trade package for Seabrook, Shattenkirk, or some one of that caliber that may be available instead of grabbing the last best free agent out there.