The Chicago Blackhawks are in need of some help on defense, but their free agent prospects look relatively bleak — minus one name
The Chicago Blackhawks will place Marian Hossa on long-term injured reserve when then 2017-18 regular season begins, giving them much needed cap space to acquire another player. I’m hoping the Blackhawks would use that money to sign a free agent defenseman.
It has been well documented how uncomfortable the ’Hawks’ current defensive setup is, but my hopes of the team signing a defenseman could be coming to an end very quickly.
The defensive pool of free agents appears to be dwindling quickly. Johnny Oduya has signed the Ottawa Senators for $1 million over one year. Mark Streit also just signed with the Montreal Canadiens. There could be more moves on the horizon. There are really only a handful of NHL defensemen on the free agent market.
Now I did not want Oduya back or Streit, but them dropping off the market might lead teams to sign my free agent target for the ’Hawks. My target is Cody Franson.
Why the Blackhawks should be interested in Cody Franson
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve had debates about the merits of Franson joining the Hawks. He makes prefect sense for the ’Hawks.
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Franson is a right-handed shot with a solid Corsi-for percentage. He also has size at 6-foot-5 and can move the puck out of his own end. With so much uncertainty on the blue line, the ’Hawks could use someone constant on their third pairing.
Now Franson is a not a savior on defense or the best defenseman who ever lived. He might be the prettiest girl of the ones who are left at the bar when the lights come on.
All kidding aside, he did put up some decent numbers last season. He had three goals and 16 assists. His Corsi-for was 50.4 percent. For his career, he is a 49.7 percent Corsi-for player.
The most important things is that he an NHL defenseman. He has appeared in 527 NHL games. That is 527 more than Jan Rutta and Ville Pokka, 477 more than Michal Kempny and 489 more than Gustav Forsling.
Why should the Blackhawks go skydiving without a parachute on defense?
After Franson, the defensive free agent class gets bleak. The names include Dennis Wideman, Francois Beauchemin and Rob Scuderi.
Now Wideman averaged 20:13 in ice time last season, but he is 34 years old. He might be your only option after Franson. Everyone else is either super old or super bad. I believe that ’Hawks will pass on everyone but Franson to start the season.