Defenseman Cody Franson has finally found a new home for the upcoming season.
After waiting all summer for a deal with an NHL club, the 28-year old blue liner will sign a contract with the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Franson’s deal with Buffalo will be for two years, and will carry an average annual value of approximately $3.3 million.
Franson had been reportedly negotiating with Buffalo for quite some time after speaking with teams such as Boston and Toronto about potentially coming into the fold. With the Sabres, however, Franson has not only a contract as opposed to a professional try out, but a likely cemented spot inside the team’s top six alongside Josh Gorges or Zach Bogosian.
It had been no secret that Sabres general manager Tim Murray wanted to bring in another veteran defenseman for his young team. When free agency began in July, Murray looked at players like Andrej Sekera and Johnny Oduya, both of whom ultimately signed elsewhere. The expectation around the team was that if he didn’t sign someone during the first couple weeks of free agency, a signing was going to be made close to the start of training camp; that’s exactly what happened.
With Franson aboard, five of the six spots seem to be set in stone with Franson, Gorges, Bogosian, Rasmus Ristolainen and Mark Pysyk. The big question now shifts to who are the odd men out? Does Jake McCabe now start the year in Rochester? What about the newly signed Carlo Colaiacovo, or the veteran Mike Weber?
The Sabres open up training camp at the First Niagara Center next week.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.