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Chicago Blackhawks, Cody Franson Reportedly Plan On 1-Year Deal

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BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 02: Cody Franson
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 02: Cody Franson /
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After learning Marian Hossa could be put on long-term injured reserve, the Chicago Blackhawks, unsurprisingly, appear ready to sign Cody Franson

Cody Franson will be on a professional tryout no more. The Chicago Blackhawks plan to ink the defenseman to a one-year, $1 million deal, with this news breaking shortly after that of forward Marian Hossa becoming long-term injured reserve eligible due to his serious skin condition.

This news on Franson was reported by Rick Dhaliwal of Sportsnet and Vancouver’s News 1130.

Getting Hossa to LTIR will free up salary cap space, which the Chicago Blackhawks are going to use some of on Franson here. The reason I keep speaking about this as something that will happen versus something that has already is broken down here, by CapFriendly, with regard to when the Blackhawks will likely place Hossa on LTIR.

The Blackhawks helped clear up this matter not long ago, with The Athletic’s Scott Powers reporting that coach Joel Quenneville has said the team will place Hossa on LTIR tomorrow — presumably after submitting a cap-compliant roster to the NHL.

What it means for the Blackhawks

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All in all, this is unsurprising news now that Hossa’s LTIR eligibility has been confirmed. The Blackhawks have a pretty questionable blue line right now, with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook being followed by Connor Murphy, Michal Kempny, Gustav Forsling, Jan Rutta and Jordan Oesterle — none of whom you’d call veterans by any stretch.

Franson is exactly that and has some puck-moving abilities from the point as well. He looked entirely fine in the preseason and would really shore up the third pairing, when this signing becomes official.

Here are the defensive pairings from today’s Blackhawks practice, courtesy Powers:

That’s an interesting combination, though certainly not one that’s guaranteed to roll out for Thursday’s season opener against Pittsburgh. The fact the Blackhawks are carrying eight defensemen is still odd to me, as I said yesterday, so I’m curious what type of pairings Chicago will utilize in the opener.

I see the top two pairings starting, though not necessarily paired in that fashion. The final two spots will be a toss-up between the other four guys, though I think Rutta is certainly deserving of one off the bat. I really don’t see a point in keeping two guys who could be getting AHL time (Forsling and Oesterle) on the pine, so there could be some sort of rotation between those two and Franson in the early going.

Next: Blackhawks' Hossa Cleared For LTIR Spot

The Blackhawks have a difficult schedule to open the regular season, facing Pittsburgh, Columbus, Toronto, Montreal, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Edmonton in their first eight games. That offers plenty of opportunities for the Blackhawks to see which defensemen stack up best against generally solid competition.

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