Three weeks have elapsed since NHL free agency opened yet Cody Franson, one of the best free agent defencemen available, remains unsigned.
“There’s probably five or six teams we’re talking to. There are some very interested ones, but some teams are in cap situations and all the rest that comes with it,” Franson told TSN 1040 Tuesday. “Everything is just kind of slowly rolling.”
Franson is coming off three consecutive one-year contracts. In fact, the 27-year-old’s next contract will be his fifth since his entry-level deal and it’s beginning to wear thin on the 6-foot-5, right-handed blueliner.
“I’d rather not be in this situation,” he explained. “It seems to kind of always work out that way. The last three years, going through all those one-year deals and contracts and stuff like that, it’s getting a little old, but my agent’s very comfortable with where we’re at. I spoke with him [Monday] and it’s just a matter of being patient and hopefully figuring out a good spot for me.”
One spot Franson still has his eye on is Toronto. He spent the better part of four seasons with the Maple Leafs before being traded to the Nashville Predators in February.
“We haven’t had too many discussions with Toronto, but I always hope that door stays open,” Franson said. “I 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.”
Franson also confirmed that the Boston Bruins are one of the teams he has been in contact with. He added that he reached out to former junior teammate Milan Lucic to ask him about the city. The two played three seasons together for the Vancouver Giants in the WHL and Lucic spent eight years with the Bruins before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in June.
“I asked him a few questions about it,” Franson said. “With the trade they made with [Dougie] Hamilton and some of the other stuff they’ve done, they’re one of the teams that we’re in talks with. Boston would be an interesting spot.”
Franson put up a career high 36 points in 78 games during the 2014-15 season on a $3.3 million salary cap hit. The Sicamous, B.C. native added that he’s flexible when it comes to both salary and term, but there’s no doubt he’s seeking a multi-year deal.
“Obviously, I’d like to get something a little more than one year. I’m sick of doing one-year deals,” Franson explained. “But we’re open to all suggestions, really.
“We haven’t said a number and we’ll take nothing less, or a term and we’ll take nothing less than that. We haven’t said that at all. We’ve had a lot of teams call to see where we’re at. We just said in a certain ballpark. Nobody has laughed at us. Everybody has thought it was reasonable. It’s just one of those things that some teams we’re talking to are in cap crunches and some teams don’t want to go maybe as long. It’s a number of different circumstances. Hopefully something happens sooner than later.”