Cody Franson signs with Chicago Blackhawks

Sicamous defenceman inked the NHL deal on Wednesday.

Cody Franson signs a fan’s shirt during Sicamous’ Canada Day celebrations. -File photo

Cody Franson signs a fan’s shirt during Sicamous’ Canada Day celebrations. -File photo

Former Beaver Valley Nitehawks defenceman Cody Franson signed a deal with another Hawks team on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old Franson signed a $1-million, one year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks after salary-cap money was freed up by putting the Blackhawks Marion Hossa on a long-term injured reserve (LTIR).

Franson is a solid fit as a third pairing defenceman behind the likes of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. At six-foot-five, 224 pounds, and four seasons of 29-plus points, he brings size and puts up strong possession numbers every year.

The Sicamous native joined the Blackhawks on a professional tryout deal in September after passing on guaranteed contracts from other teams. It was apparent at the time that both sides had a handshake deal in place to get the defenceman a contract once Hossa went on LTIR, so it would’ve taken a disastrous training camp for that to fall apart.

Over the past few years with bad NHL teams like the Buffalo Sabres (2015-17) and Toronto Maple Leafs (2011-15), Franson has tended to be a relative bright spot.

According to Franson’s posted positive Corsi Relative numbers, which means the team’s Corsi is higher with him on the ice than off, in every single year of his career.

Corsi is an advanced statistic used by the NHL to measure shot attempt differential while at even strength play. This includes shots on goal, missed shots on goal, and blocked shot attempts towards the opposition’s net minus the same shot attempts directed at your own team’s net. Positive Corsi numbers indicate that the team spends more time with the puck than without, and are in the offensive zone more often than the defensive zone, while negative Corsi numbers tells you the team spends more time in the defensive zone than offensive zone.

The stat explains why Franson recorded 29-plus points in four different seasons. With his size and a booming shot, he brings strength, intimidation, and offensive punch from the back end.

Franson played the 2003-04 season in Beaver Valley with the Nitehawks scoring 10 goals and 32 points in 48 games before jumping to the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.