According to a report from Russian hockey inside Aivis Kalnins of Sport-Express, former NHL defenseman Cody Franson has signed a two year deal with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
Looks like Cody Franson is KHL bound. Will likely be signed by Bob Hartley’s Avangard
Hockey contract database CapFriendly has confirmed the report, as well:
UFA defense man Cody Franson, who played for the Chicago Blackhawks last season, has signed a 2 year deal with Avangard in the KHL.
He’ll join Alexei Emelin, Ville Pokka, Kris Versteeg and David Desharnais who also signed with Avangard Omsk this past off season.
The 31 year old Franson played 23 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season, scoring just one goal and seven points. He also played with the team’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate where he tore it up with nine goals and 28 points in just 37 games. The giant 6 foot, 5 inch, 225 pound blue liner has played 550 career NHL games split between the Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs. If this is indeed the end of his NHL career, he’ll finish with 43 goals and 212 points.
UPDATE: Avangard has now confirmed the news.
Check out the translated release from the club:
The club concluded a two-year contract with a Canadian defender.
President of "Avangard" Maxim Sushinskij:-The defender under the majority with a good powerful throw-we have long been looking for this option and stopped for the candidacy of Frjensona.
He is quite experienced, has spent more than 500 matches in the NHL, and will help us both in the organization of the attack and in the defense of our gates. I think many people will appreciate the power of our beginner's click. Franson is a disciplined player with good physical data as well as game thinking.
With this signing, Avangard has established themselves as a legitimate Gagarin Cup contender. Aside from Franson, the team has also inked former NHLers Alexei Emelin, Ville Pokka, Kris Versteeg, David Desharnais and Maxime Talbot. They've also hired former Stanley Cup winning head coach Bob Hartley, formerly of the Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and Colorado Avalanche.