After a long and brutal summer for the league's UFA's - who seem to be waiting to be picked last like the nerds in your gym glass - one of the bigger names has finally found a home - sort of.
Cody Franson signed with Buffalo this morning, and don't think he will be there to see the end of his contract. Buffalo is taking the risk with him, hoping he will play like his usual self and then they will trade him, helping their rebuild.
This years UFA's have definitely noticed that the leagues GM's are finally realizing that with a cap, you cannot afford to go out and over-spend on free agents. The players are asking for too much, and finally the GM's are realizing that they are not worth overspending for. Is Franson's deal overspending, probably not, but it took until September 10th for him to come off his high horse and accept a deal that's close to Adam McQuaid's.
Everyone is whining about how the Bruin's missed out on Franson and how we needed him and blah blah blah. Listen, Cody Franson was not going to come here and be a saviour. He was not going to come here and all of a sudden fix every problem. In fact, he might have caused one.
Buffalo signed Cody to a 2 year deal averaging $3.3 million a year. Good for them. Do I want the Bruins signing him to that deal? No. You're going to say that the Bruins are paying a little bit less for Adam McQuaid and he's no where the type of player Franson is. You're right, McQuaid is not a 30pt per year D man - instead he is a hard hitting, fighting machine who you're going to see take on a Thornton type of leadership role this year. Franson is the better player, however, at this point it would not have been a smart move for Sweeney to sign him.
What if they signed him and he didn't perform to everyones high expectations. What if he couldn't handle the pressure. Everyone would be on Sweeney's and his cause for spending the money on him, getting us back in cap problems, the list goes on. No instead, Sweeney is having a look at what he has in the system before he goes and spends money and gets us back into cap problems.
Sweeney is being smart. He is not paying for a UFA - who might not perform to his usual self - and he is going to let the kids in the system prove themselves. Why take the risk in spending money for a player who may not play up to their potential and then have cap problems, especially when you have guys like Trotman, Morrow and Miller all banging on the door of the bigs and wanting to prove that they belong. The best thing about having these young kids is that if one of them doesn't perform, there's another one right behind him even hungrier for his chance to prove he belongs. That type of fire and compete is priceless. It brings the best out of each player and makes everyone on the team play better.
I'm not saying that Franson is not a great player. He has averaged about 30 points for the last three seasons and is a proven talent in the NHL, but no, he is not worth spending $3.3mill a year on at this time. UFA's in all sports are risky - take Hanley Ramirez for example. The play well, get their "big contract" and then they either work out or they don't. It's a risk that the Bruin's don't need to take right now.
The Bruins are in a transition year. On paper, they are not scaring anyone. I believe that they will do well and that they will get back to being the "Big, Bad, Bruins" but I'm a biased fan. In transition years, you give your young players the chance to prove themselves, you get out of cap trouble and you build for the upcoming years.
In a perfect world we would see the Bruins make a trade for a guy like Weber or Byfuglien but I don't see that happening. Instead, they can go out and make a trade for someone like Ryan Ellis from Nashville. He is a great young guy who is going to be a great D-man, and he's not going to come at a steep price. He is coming off two great seasons with Nashville but is stuck in the middle there due to all of their talent at defence. He is a top D-man on most teams, trust me.
With less than a month away until opening day, the Bruin's still do need some help on the blue line, but I'm telling you now, keep your eyes open because the help is soon on it's way. I think everyone is going to be surprised by the talent of Colin Miller and I think that Trotman and Morrow are both going to have break out years. The nice thing is that thanks to Sweeney, if I'm wrong and these guys don't perform, then later in the year we still have doors open. We can still trade for and afford guys like Franson. Keeping our doors open for now, will pay out in the end.
By Connor Yourth @Dropper63