Josh Cooper reports this morning that defenseman Cody Franson has re-upped with the Nashville Predators for two years, at $800,000 each. Since he's now eligible for waivers, Franson is expected to be a full-time NHL player from here forward.
I'll update with more once we get the press release from the team, but it suffices to say this is a very good deal for Nashville. They buy time to find out if Franson can step into a larger role on the team, without having to make an overly-large financial commitment. Remember, Ville Koistinen put up a very similar rookie performance with the Preds back in 2007-8, but flamed out shortly afterward.
Make sure to check out the season preview which Chris wrote about Cody late last month!
The team's press release follows...
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed defenseman Cody Franson to a two-year, $1.6 million contract.
Franson, 23 (8/8/87) posted 21 points (6g-15a) in 61 contests for the Predators a season ago, becoming just the second rookie defenseman in franchise history to hit the 20-point mark (Dan Hamhuis, 2003-04), tying for fourth among first-year blueliners in points, and ranking third in goals. The 6-5, 213-pound native of Sicamous, B.C., also led all rookies and ranked second on the team in plus/minus rating (+15), and paced all rookie defensemen in game-winning goals (3) in 2009-10. Franson played in four of Nashville's six postseason games this past spring, notching his first career playoff point/assist in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. Chicago.
Nashville's third choice, 79th overall (third round), in the 2005 Entry Draft spent two seasons with the Milwaukee Admirals before moving onto Nashville, being named a Second-Team AHL All-Star in 2008-09 and to the AHL All-Rookie Team in 2007-08. Franson capped his amateur career by winning the 2007 Memorial Cup with the Vancouver Giants (WHL), being named to the tournament's all-star team, and a gold medal at the 2007 World Junior Championships. He also appeared in the 2006 Memorial Cup, leading all defensemen in scoring in both that tournament and the WHL Playoffs.