New York Rangers’ Free Agent targets: who should be signed?

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

John Cavanagh- Cody Franson

The Rangers needs on defense are well documented. Before Brendan Smith was acquired at the trade deadline, one of the possible trade targets for the Rangers was right handed defenseman Cody Franson.

Franson played for the Buffalo Sabres the past two seasons, and is now an unrestricted free agent. The defenseman would be a good fit because he has the key checkmarks the Rangers should look for in rebuilding their defense.

Franson has good skating ability, can move the puck efficiently, and is a big right handed shot the Rangers have been missing on the power play. While the Rangers are looking to get younger on defense, Franson is only 29 years old.

Brendan Smith is likely to be re-signed by the Rangers, and the consensus is he will command about four to five million dollars. Kevin Shattenkirk is the top defenseman on the market, and like Franson, is also a right handed shot.

However, signing Shattenkirk means shelling out close to six million dollars, unless he gives the Rangers a hometown discount. With Smith likely signing on, the Rangers would have to make big changes to their roster to make room for a player like Shattenkirk.

While he’s not as flashy, Franson would be a fine addition to the Rangers defense, and at a much cheaper cost. Franson averaged 18:29 TOI (Time on Ice) a night for the Sabres, and has positive puck possession numbers with a lifetime CF (Corsi For) of 52.6% (via Hockey Reference).