BUFFALO – Free agent defenseman Cody Franson will likely sign a two-year deal with the Sabres on Thursday worth about $3.3 million a season, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Update: The Sabres announced the contract Thursday morning. The deal is worth $3.325 million a season, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
Sabres general manager Tim Murray talked openly earlier this summer about adding another veteran defenseman before the season starts. Training camp opens next week.
Franson, 28, has been on the market for more than two months despite scoring a career-high 36 points in 78 games last season split between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators.
The Sabres’ ability to offer a two-year deal at more than $3 million a season likely enticed Franson. The team is $12,017,145 under the salary cap, according to generalfanager.com.
Franson, a right-handed shot, is quietly one of the NHL’s top offensive defensemen, having compiled 35 goals and 169 points in 400 career games. He had 33 points in 79 appearances in 2013-14 and 29 points in 45 contests in 2012-13.
Nashville drafted Franson 79th overall in 2005 before reacquiring him last season.
Right now, the Sabres have three righties – Zach Bogosian, Mark Pysyk and Rasmus Ristolainen – and three lefties – Carlo Colaiacovo, Josh Gorges and Mike Weber – on the blue line.