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07-19-2011, 01:52 PM
  #10
ThirdManIn
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Cody Franson in a nutshell:

Strengths - very good wrist/snapshot. He seems to be able to get pucks through even the heaviest traffic and on net. He is accurate with his shot, too. You shouldn't see too many of his shots go wide or high unless he's trying to get a rebound off of the boards/glass to a forward up front, which he doesn't do often. He has reach with his long frame and stick. Doesn't take a lot of penalties.

Weaknesses - He doesn't use his size, or at least didn't begin to until the end of the season/play offs. That could be a good sign, but I wouldn't necessarily count on it. He played very protected minutes, and for an offensive minded defenseman on a team without much offense that's saying something. Trotz felt like any offensive upside he had would be voided by giving him too many minutes and thus allowing him to make defensive errors. He played a lot of PP time, but our PP was awful once again. I wouldn't blame him for it, but he isn't a player who will turn a bad powerplay into a mediocre/good powerplay. His breakout pass isn't the greatest, but it isn't necessarily bad. Just meh. He has no acceleration at all. The guy skates like he is wearing an open parachute sometimes. He understands he has pretty good reach, and he'll get caught fishing for the puck too much. His positioning would likely be much better if he would just stop worrying about the poke check. He doesn't have the mobility to get back into position if the poke doesn't work. Of course, he doesn't really have the mobility to be a fantastic positioning defenseman either, at least not yet.

I think if Wilson can get Cody to start using his size more he could be a #4 defenseman on a decent defensive team. In Nashville he wouldn't likely get past the third pairing, but I think in Toronto he could refine the skills he does have, improve a few things, and get to the second pairing. As was mentioned earlier, he did have slightly better ESG% than Weber, but it was also mentioned that his protected minutes allowed for that. Weber played more minutes against vastly superior talent. Cody played very low ES minutes against bottom six (often fourth line)/bottom pairing-level talent.

Play Franson with a physical, preferably mobile defenseman who has some sort of ability to move the puck forward and he'll be fine. Like was said (by Dave I believe), mix in a speedy, good two-way forward or two and he should be fine. Even better if you can protect his minutes like Trotz did. It's hard to predict how he will do in the more offensive-minded, superstar saturated Eastern Conference versus he played in a more physical, grittier, balanced Western Conference.

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