Cody Franson remains the biggest name remaining in this summer’s NHL UFA market. Here’s a look at his potential destinations.
SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston lists five possible landing spots for UFA defenseman Cody Franson. The Boston Bruins “make total sense” and Franson recently confirmed he’d spoke with the club. The Dallas Stars still have room for improvement, but their limited cap space means they’ll have to get creative to sign Franson. Slava Voynov’s uncertain future could make the LA Kings a possibility. The Arizona Coyotes are still seeking a right-handed rearguard to play alongside Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Franson might also be a good fit with the rebuilding Buffalo Sabres.
BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy reports Bruins GM Don Sweeney has Franson, along with UFAs Christian Ehrhoff and Marek Zidlicky, on his radar. However, Sweeney must be careful, given the financial implications and the potential such a move could thwart the development of promising defensemen like Joe Morrow and Colin Miller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Bruins had the cap space, I believe they’d be on Franson like ugly on a gorilla. But with only around $4.7 million in cap room, they can’t afford to ink him to an expensive long-term deal. Franson will want more than $4 million and for longer than only one or two years. Unless his asking price drops substantially, he’s not a cap fit for the Bruins. Same goes for the Stars and Kings, especially with the latter potentially facing a challenge from the NHLPA over their termination of Mike Richards’ contract.
The Coyotes and Sabres certainly have sufficient cap room to sign Franson. Like the other potentially interested teams, they could be waiting to see if Franson becomes more affordable over the course of the summer. The Coyotes, however, have a self-imposed cap ceiling. They might not be willing to spend $4 million-plus on a long-term deal for that right-handed defenseman they’re looking for.