On the day that the Patriots opened the NFL season with the best pregame ceremony ever and a win over the Steelers, there was some other news in the sports world that very few people realized in this market. The Buffalo Sabres agreed to a 2 year contract worth $6 million with Cody Franson, the last remaining good free agent.
For his entire career, Franson has had great CorsiRel stats with subpar actual Corsi numbers, which means that he’s exactly what he’s perceived to be: A defenseman who can hold his own but who’s been stuck on bad teams and in bad situations. That’s what being on the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2013 and 2014 seasons will do to you.
I have had a Tom Brady jersey since 2001, and it means a ton to me, as you might expect. But I will personally mail it to anyone who can convince me of a legitimate reason why the Bruins didn’t sign Franson, assuming that Franson didn’t turn down a contract in Boston or ask for the B’s to give him way more than the Sabres did.
Don Sweeney is working with about $4.75 million in cap space, depending on which roster filling guys make up the 23 man team for opening night. The market for top 4 defensemen is rising by the day, as the Bruins learned when they supposedly paid the market price for Dennis Seidenberg at $4 million a year. Franson is 28, meaning this Sabres contract won’t expire until he’s 30. You’re telling me he’s not worth $3 million in each of those 2 years?
There’s always the chance that the Bruins trade for him in February when the Sabres are likely out of the playoffs and would welcome a good young asset for Franson in all likelihood, and while not having him on the team for the first 4 months of the season would save a lot in salary cap room, it’d also cost whatever asset that may be. And the Bruins are gonna be in a battle for a playoff spot from the moment the puck drops vs. the Jets on opening night, and having a guy like Franson as your 2nd best defenseman rather than Torey Krug would have been a humongous boost to a team going into the season with a horrible cast of blueliners.
And at the risk of making you bang your head against your keyboard, remember that Adam McQuaid signed for $2.75 million per year. If the Bruins wanted to preserve this $4.75M they have in cap space, they could’ve simply let McQuaid walk and signed a much better player for a quarter million more. Or they could’ve signed Franson, let McQuaid wait out the market and realize no one else would have paid him nearly that much money, and take One Tough Hombre back for the 1 year, $1.25 million deal he deserves on a good day.