Buffalo Sabres new signing discusses the ups and downs of being an NHL free agent
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In Franson’s defense, this thinking made sense. When free agency started on July 1, he was considered as one of the better defenseman available on the open market.
When rumors started circulating about interest from the likes of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins, in seemed like only a matter of time before the 28-year old was snapped up. However, it didn’t quite pan out like that.
As Franson told Josh Cooper of sports.yahoo.com: “The whole free agency experience went very different than we had planned. With the cap not going up and a lot of the teams that were very interested in us, they didn’t have a lot of options.
“There were some trades that were made that ended up taking away some of our suitors. I think this was a year where everything kind of changed really.”
The Sicamous, BC native’s late-season dip in form didn’t help. Yes, he finished with career highs in assists and total points, but he slumped after being traded from the Leafs to the Predators.
Dec 23, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier (45) and defenseman Cody Franson (4) defend against the Dallas Stars attack during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Maple Leafs shut out the Stars 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
In fairness to Franson, he conceded this point to Cooper: “Going to Nashville last year and having things play out the way they did didn’t help my cause.
“Going in there and playing the role I played and not playing on the power play didn’t help me. It also didn’t help that team lost in the first round of the playoffs when they were doing so well before we got there.”
One last factor that came into play, was the 2005 third round draft pick’s insistence that he wanted a multi-year deal. After three straight one-year contracts, he wanted a little bit more security.
Franson said: “We’ve gone through some pretty grueling processes as far as contract negotiations and three one-year deals with Toronto. None of those were easy negotiations.
“I had a pretty successful season until the trade to Nashville and I thought I put myself in a pretty good position to go in and really find a home and find a place where I could get some term and really call it home. But that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
In the end, the Sabres came through and offered a two-year, $6.6. million contract. It certainly helped that, unlike a lot of teams, Buffalo were in a good situation with respect to the salary cap.
However, you could argue that two years wasn’t exactly the type of long-term deal the right-handed shooter was looking for. Regardless, he will use this to his advantage on the ice for the Sabres.
As Franson told Cooper: “You have to be able to roll with the punches and stand back up and prove people wrong. That’s the attitude I’m taking towards this.
“It was something that aggravated me. I want to go out there and prove a lot of people wrong and put my best foot forward and help this team win.”
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