Chicago Blackhawks waive veteran defenseman Cody Franson

NHL News

The Chicago Blackhawks took a chainsaw to their blue-line logjam on Monday, waiving veteran defenseman Cody Franson.

The Blackhawks had been carrying eight defensemen. The emergence of Jordan Oesterle, 25, as a top-pairing partner of star Duncan Keith as well as the improved play of third-pairing defenders Gustav Forsling and Jan Rutta made Franson expendable.

But it was seen as a curious move as Franson, 30, met the expectations that were placed on him after joining the Blackhawks on a professional tryout contract in the preseason.

Franson had seven points in 23 games, skating 16:36 per game on average in a season that saw him miss seven games with an upper body injury last month. His underlying numbers were very strong: a 8.21 relative Corsi rating, best on Chicago and an indication that the Blackhawks were a better possession team with Franson on the ice.

The Blackhawks waived Franson with the intention of demoting him to the American Hockey League, but it would be a surprise if he wasn’t claimed by another team before noon on Tuesday. Franson is a veteran that would be an upgrade for several teams, and he has an extremely cap friendly contract of $1 million, with unrestricted free agency this summer.

Chicago was Franson’s fourth NHL team, having previously played for the Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs and most recently the Buffalo Sabres. He has 212 points in 550 NHL games.

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