Top-10 UFA Countdown: #3 - Cody Franson

Jeff Veillette
June 25 2015 06:00AM

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Photo Credit: Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports

This is a series counting down the top-10 pending UFAs. It will be posted across the Nation Network over the next month! Enjoy! 

When the Nashville Predators acquired Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli in February, everybody thought it was a match made in heaven. After all, the team was getting two quality players that they were familiar with, without giving up any present assets. Theoretically, it was the type of move that should've taken a good team to greatness, but instead, it was a bust.

David Poile was quick to admit that the team was forcing a square peg into a round hole. After all, the Predators are very adament about following shot handedness with their defencemen, and they already had three quality righties. As such, Franson didn't recieve the necessary playing time, didn't fit in, and will now hit free agency. But what will he command?

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Thomas Drance's NHL Awards Ballot

Thomas Drance
June 24 2015 08:00PM

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Photo Credit: Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports

This was my first hockey season as a member of the PHWA, and I had the mixed blessing of casting an NHL Awards ballot. It was an honour, but it was also a heavy burden.

After years of slamming NHL awards voters for this, that and the other thing, actually having a ballot this season changed my perspective. I agonized for weeks over my selections, researched deserving candidates for each award heavily, re-streamed game video, and talked to a variety of industry people whom I trust before allowing my vote to be tallied. 

Some of these decisions were decided by a wafer thin margin. I'd wake up one day thinking that Erik Karlsson was my pick for the Norris, and I'd go to sleep that night thinking that 'really, P.K. Subban was the most valuable two-way defender in hockey this season.' Then I cast my first place Norris vote for neither player.

Anyway, in the interest of transparency and because these sorts of hockey conversations are pertinent and fun, I'd like to present my 2014-15 NHL Awards ballot for your scrutiny, consideration and entertainment. 

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Nation Network Prospect Profiles: #7 Kyle Connor

money puck
June 24 2015 06:30PM

Let's make no mistake about it, the 2015 draft class is ridiculous. When there is so much top end talent available, it's easily to overlook a player who is slightly off radar, playing in North America's 4th best junior league, especially when said player wasn't showcased in the top scouting circuit tournaments. 

Kyle Connor hasn't received as much exposure as many of the other top names in this draft, and as a result this potential future star could slip out of the top 10. I'll break down his draft year after the jump.

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Nation Network Prospect Profiles: #8 Mathew Barzal

Rhys Jessop
June 24 2015 05:42PM

For a while, it looked like Mathew Barzal could potentially slide down the draft thanks to an iffy start to 2014-15 and a mid-season knee injury suffered while goofing around off-ice. But, even though he slid to the mid-teens at one point, this rating was pretty tenuous at best. Scouts have always liked the kid and were just waiting for an excuse to re-elevate him up the draft boards.

And with some exceptional international play, Barzal gave them exactly that excuse. The talented Vancouver native now comes in at 8th on our draft board.

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Nation Network Prospect Profiles: #9 Ivan Provorov

Thomas Drance
June 24 2015 03:00PM

It would have been unbelievable a few months ago, but it just a few days out, it's very possible that Russian-born defenseman Ivan Provorov may be the first defenseman off of the board at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

The well-rounded, if somewhat undersized defender possess a solid two-way game and high-end offensive instincts. Though he's a choppy skater, there's no denying his speed and his dynamic ability to rush the puck. One wonders if he might be able to add an additional gear with the right skating coach, and that's a frightening thought indeed.

Provorov checks in at #9 on our list, read on past the jump!

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