Still without a contract, defenceman Cody Franson joined TSN1040 to discuss his lingering free agent status and possible destinations.
TSN: What’s been the hold up, and how are things going here?
Franson: This year has just been very different than in the past. I think there was a stat that came up that said, on average over the past three years, the first two hours of free agency there were 19 deals done over five million dollars. Last year, there was even more than that. This year there was three. You know, I think a lot of GMs are trying to be very cautious with the term. You’re seeing guys like Saad and Hamilton being moved now, and that’s kind of uncharted territories for a lot of teams. I think teams are trying to keep themselves in a position to be able to do something if something like that was to come up. That usually means altering deals and things like that, so free agency gets a little tougher.
You mentioned five million dollars. Is that the magic number, Cody?
Franson: No, I mean, we haven’t said a number and we’ll take nothing less, or a term and we’ll take nothing less. We haven’t said that at all. We’ve had a lot of teams call and just kind of see where we are at. We just set it in a certain ballpark and nobody has laughed at us. Everybody has thought it was reasonable. It is just one of those things where some of the teams we are talking to are in cap crunches and some teams don’t want to go maybe as long. [There’s] a number of different circumstances. This year has just been a lot slower in general. You’ve seen guys like Stewart and Ward, a lot of guys sitting around for a little bit before they got something. Hopefully something happens sooner than later.
Is there a minimum number of years in mind?
Franson: No, not really. We are kind of open. Obviously I’d like to get something a little more than one year. I’m sick of doing one-year deals, but yeah, we’re open to all suggestions really.
What other considerations are factoring into the process (place in the depth chart, contending teams, etc)?
Franson: It comes down to a couple of different details. If you end up taking a shorter term deal, a two year deal or something like that, I’m probably going to try to put myself in a position to try to win a Cup. First and foremost, I think after, with the way things went for me in Nashville, obviously that puts into perspective how important it is that you fit into the team that you go to. If you’re not happy where you are, it doesn’t matter the amount of money that you make. If you can’t go out every night and earn what you make, it doesn’t feel right. Being in the proper place on the depth chart and making sure you’re a good fit where you go is a real important factor for me.
I sat down with my agent a little over a week ago and we went through all the team’s depth charts that we’re speaking to, and the teams that could be potential spots for us, and kind of seeing where we fit in on their blueline and if it would be a good fit for me. I mean, I emphasized to him how much that affected me being in Nashville. As much as I love that city, it was difficult to go back to playing in that role. I want to be a guy that’s counted on, and not get put back in a depth spot per se.
What didn’t work the second time around in Nashville?
Franson: It just wasn’t a fit. They had three guys that played the right side. On the powerplay they had Weber, Jones and Ellis; those are all powerplay guys. When I came, they had to put one of those guys on the left side. If you ask pretty much any right-handed defenceman, the left side is just no man’s land to them because the minority is on the right side. So you never grow up having to play the [left] side and it’s kind of uncharted territory. Having four righties there kind of charged the pairings around, and the way they did things was very different than Toronto. It just, unfortunately, didn’t quite fit. We’ll go from there.
Has there been any discussion about going to your home province and playing for Vancouver?
Franson: Well, obviously, yeah, I’d like to. I spent three years with the Giants in Vancouver and loved playing for those guys and would imagine it’s only better playing for the Canucks. But yeah, there hasn’t been too much conversation between us and them. It’s not looking like that’s one of the options at the moment, but free agency has that tendency to do some things that come out of left field, so you never know.
Who are you talking to?
Franson: I don’t know how much of that I should disclose, but there’s probably five or six teams right now that we’re talking to, and there’s some very interested ones, but some teams are in cap situations and all the rest that comes with it. Everything is just kind of slowly rolling but we definitely have some action.
Morgan Rielly said he’d love for you to come back to Toronto. Is that a possibility?
Franson: I hope so. We haven’t had too many discussions with Toronto, but I always hope that that door stays open. I’d loved it there and loved the guys there. I think we left on good terms and I’m still hopeful that that’s a possibility.
Have you asked Milan Lucic about what it’s like in Boston?
Franson: I asked him a few questions about it. With the trade of Hamilton and some other stuff they’ve done, they’re one of the teams that we’re in talks with. Boston would be an interesting spot. It’s obviously an awesome city and they’ve got a great organization, and all those things that come with it. There’s a handful of other teams, too, and everything is just kind of slow rolling at the moment, and we’re taking it day by day.