I really like this player. He seems to have improved a lot. At the start of last year a lot of people on this board ripped him, sometimes deservedly, but I think many thought that he wasn't being utilized appropriately. After all, a player who was thought worthy of playing all 82 games with a playoff, defensively solid Nashville team should be worthy of playing a semi-prominent role with the Leafs...right? Well, Wilson didn't think so, and neither did Carlyle...for a while. However, it seems to me that his role has increased in prominence this season, and even over the last few weeks.
Franson is a real calm player in his own zone. He has a decent first pass, and has excellent hands for a dman. However, where he really adds to this team is on the powerplay. He has a great ability of getting the puck through in all situations, and knows when to jump up in to the play.
Another great move by Brian Burke, and if Nonis has an opportunity in the future to flex this team's financial muscle and acquire a player in a similar fashion, he should do so.
I'm glad he's working out in his role so far. See him as a #3, #4 dman if he can improve his quickness a bit. His shot is so useful and it seems like he's finally using his size to his advantage like Carlyle wanted.
One thing I'm curious about is doesn't something have to give at some point regarding to these offensive defencemen in our lineup?
We're looking to utilize Franson, Gardiner and Rielly in the near future but will the team be able to balance it out or will someone have to be moved?
Big Franson supporter since he came in. He's always produced extremely well in limited ice time (always in the top 50 for P/60 amongst defensemen) and it absolutely blew my mind that Wilson -- and then Carlyle at the end of last year -- wouldn't play him.
He's really stepped it up this year -- takes the body routinely in the defensive zone which is a complete 180 from his game previously. I think his skating will limit him to at most a #4 guy, but paired with the right partner, he's got all the tools to be effective. Fantastic PP specialist as well. Good passing, accurate shot, ability to sneak down into the far side slot.