4. Cody Franson
Like Shattenkirk, Cody Franson is also in his prime years. Also like Shattenkirk, he’s set to become a free agent at free agency on July 1st. Franson is a top-four defenceman, but he’s also somewhat declined in the last couple of seasons. I mean, it doesn’t help what teams he’s played for.
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His size, height, and right-handed shot would be perfect alongside Brodie. Now, let me get something straight: I’m not super keen on Franson (so please don’t come for me in the comments telling me how terrible of an idea this is). But we’ve seen under-utilized guys on some teams blossom on other teams.
I’m not saying Franson would be the best idea for the Calgary Flames, but it’s definitely an option and a big possibility. Seeing how his past two seasons have gone, he may only be asking for around $3-4 million, which the Flames can definitely do for a top-four defenceman.
The last couple of seasons haven’t been the best for Franson. He had just 19 points in 68 games and the season before, had just 17 points in 59 games, both with the Buffalo Sabres. Given his size, he hasn’t quite been blocking and hitting as much as I’m sure teams would like, but like I said, he’s been under-utilized in Buffalo. And like I said, sometimes players go on other teams and just gel much better and blossom.
Under Glen Gulutzan’s fast-paced style and if he’s given that ice-time, he could very well prove to be a solid top-four defenceman and a solid option alongside T.J. Brodie.