ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs, proud American Hockey League affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League, announced today that defenseman Cody Franson has agreed to terms on a one-year AHL deal with the club for the 2020-21 season.
Franson, 33, returns to the IceHogs after spending the past two seasons with Omsk Avangard in the KHL totaling 43 points (eight goals, 35 assists) over 98 games and 24 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 25 KHL postseason contests and led all KHL defensemen with 18 postseason points and 14 assists in 2019.
“Cody is going to be a great addition to our squad and it will be like adding an extra coach for us,” said IceHogs Head Coach Derek King. “He may not have known it, but I kept an eye on him during his first time with us (2017-18 season) and he’s been coaching the younger players ever since. He’s a tremendous addition to our defensive core, the team overall, and willing to take younger players under his wing to show them how to be a good professional.”
With the IceHogs in 2017-18, the Sicamous, British Columbia, native registered 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) and placed second among team defenseman with 15 power-play points (six goals, nine assists) in 37 games, earning him team Defenseman of the Year award honors.
During the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs, Franson helped the IceHogs reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time in team history, picking up 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 13 games and finished second among AHL defensemen in postseason points and power-play points (four goals, five assists) behind teammate Adam Clendening (14 points overall, 11 power-play points).
The 6-foot-5, 224-pound blueliner was originally selected by the Nashville Predators in the third round (79th overall) of the 2005 NHL Draft. He made his professional debut with the Milwaukee Admirals during the 2007-08 campaign and was named to the 2007-08 AHL All-Rookie Team and 2008-09 AHL All-Star Game. Franson has spent the majority of each of his 13 pro seasons at the NHL level, combining for 212 points (43g, 169a) in 550 career NHL games with the Predators (2009-11, 2014-15), Toronto Maple Leafs (2011-15), Buffalo Sabers (2015-17) and Blackhawks (2017-18).
To date, the IceHogs have added 12 players to the 2020-21 roster including Franson, Cristopher Wilkie (signed Aug. 28), Mathew Thompson (Aug. 25), Mitchell Fossier (Jun. 26), Jack Ramsey (Apr. 30), D.J. Busdeker (Apr. 23), Riley McKay (Apr. 9), Tom Aubrun (Apr. 6), Garret Mitchell (Apr. 3), Gabriel Gagne (Mar. 9) and Dmitry Osipov (Mar. 9). Forward Dylan McLaughlin begins his second season of his two-year AHL deal.