Veteran NHL defenseman Cody Franson has signed a professional tryout (PTO) deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a Thursday afternoon report from freelance journalist Dhiren Mahiban. However, it is also worth noting that Franson had reportedly received one-year contract offers elsewhere, but ultimately decided on the PTO with the heralded Western Conference franchise in the “Windy City.”
“The Hawks are desperate for help on the blue line after trading Niklas Hjalmarsson and Trevor van Riemsdyk, and losing Brian Campbell to retirement and Johnny Oduya to free agency,” writes Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Franson will compete for a spot on the right side of the third-pairing with Czech import Jan Rutta and minor-leaguers Ville Pokka and Erik Gustafsson. While Franson had three productive seasons in Toronto, including 33- and 32-point campaigns, the 6-5 234-pounder is a slower, lumbering skater.”
The 30-year-old defenseman originally broke into the highest level back in 2009-10 as a member of the Nashville Predators. While also making appearances for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres along the way, Franson was originally selected by the aforementioned Predators in the third round of the 2005 NHL Draft out of Salmon Arm, British Columbia.
Most recently, the veteran defender appeared in 68 regular-season games for the Sabres en route to registering 19 points in all. In what would become the second of his two go-rounds with the Sabres, Franson registered three goals alongside 16 assists in 2016-17. For his NHL career as a whole, he has recorded 205 points, thanks to 42 goals and 163 assists, over the course of 527 regular-season appearances.