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Isles need to claim Cody Franson off waiver (Update: But didn’t)

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They may not win the claim, but he’s a leviathan improvement on what they already have

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at San Jose Sharks
The Isles should put a claim on the cagey vet (get it because he’s wearing a cage)
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Update: LOL

Chicago found themselves in last place in the division and made some rather perplexing moves. None of them were more perplexing than the waiving of Cody Franson, a guy who they picked up to be a top pairing defenseman. The Chicago defender is on a team-friendly million dollar deal and putting up great possession numbers, but has had some bad luck.

There are a number of reasons the New York Islanders have to put in a claim on him. He’s a very good defenseman despite the luck and is worth every penny of that Contract. The Islanders are a team beholden by injuries on their blue line and he’s an improvement in nearly every way over what they already have. Additionally, allowing Franson to walk onto another team in the Metropolitan division would be an incredibly irresponsible thing to do.

Franson’s Numbers

Franson is being waived despite leading Chicago in shot attempt ratio. In 23 games, he was at 58.5 percent - none of their other defenders broke 56 percent. He was good for a 7.85 percent improvement in relative shot attempt ratio. He was on the positive side of the goal differential at 10 goals for to nine against. All of those things are good.

Allegedly Chicago was unhappy with his defense, but if so then they must be pretty clueless. Franson leads the team in suppressing shot attempts against them, unblocked shot attempts, shots, and yes, even goals against them. While Jordan Oesterle came in and did better at suppressing scoring chances against, there are still a number of other defensemen that did worse than Franson. Even if they were going to waive him, it’s hard to figure out how that’s bad defense and why they didn’t think they could get anything for him.

Potential Islanders Impact

Franson’s impact on the blue line was positive even for Chicago. The Islanders find themselves in a much worse place defensively and desperately need help. Franson would instantly come in and perhaps be the team’s best defenseman in terms of possession.

Player TOI FF/60 Rel FA/60 Rel FF% Rel GF/60 Rel GA/60 Rel GF% Rel SCF/60 Rel SCA/60 Rel SCF% Rel
Cody Franson 318.15 8.62 -10.24 10.24 -0.75 -0.71 0.43 1.26 -4.12 4.61
Adam Pelech 592.42 1.74 -4.06 3.25 0.76 -0.35 9.46 2.63 -3.68 5.04
Johnny Boychuk 560.87 5.3 0.25 2.95 -0.1 -0.16 0.56 1.68 0.27 1.26
Ryan Pulock 407.3 -2.51 -6.47 1.98 -0.35 0.02 -3.44 -3.71 -5.16 0.43
Sebastian Aho 40.62 3.89 2.71 1.19 1.05 10.19 -28.63 -4.83 -1.87 -2.82
Nick Leddy 734.08 2.51 1.79 0.52 -0.57 0.6 -10.29 0.9 0.69 0.25
Calvin de Haan 508.75 -2.64 -1.13 -0.92 0.2 0.17 0.05 2.81 1.98 0.76
Scott Mayfield 493.48 -2.64 0.15 -1.68 -0.25 -0.29 0.12 -1.94 -1.1 -0.83
Thomas Hickey 430.53 -1.95 2.2 -2.35 -0.08 -1.34 12.98 -2.72 2.11 -3.96
Dennis Seidenberg 252.95 -4.82 16.56 -11.09 0.15 0.72 -4.38 -2.05 12.97 -10.78

The impacts are obvious. He lead Chicago in just about every relative possession category and his effects would be that much greater in Brooklyn where puck possession has taken a hit in recent months. While the goal differential wouldn’t be the highest, he would be the second best player in terms of scoring chance ratio, perhaps the greatest after the team differences are factored in. While it’s understandable the team wouldn’t want to scratch newly-re-signed Scott Mayfield, it’s fairly obvious that Franson is a huge improvement on the right side and this is a team that has playoff expectations and is on the outside looking in. Leddy-Boychuk, Pelech-Franson, Hickey-Pulock probably changes all of that.

Franson to the Metropolitan would be irresponsible

Franson is an improvement for whichever team that claims him. As it stands, the Islanders are relatively low on the waiver and have the priority in the Metropolitan. Not acquiring him and allowing him to walk on to one of these teams in this tight division race would be an irresponsible decision by management.

The teams in the Metropolitan are generally pretty good. With that being said, even good teams have bad players and the Metropolitan has some doozies. Allowing the New Jersey Devils to get Steven Santini or the Columbus Blue Jackets to get Scott Harrington out of their lineup for Franson would be a huge mistake by management. That mistake would be compounded by the fact that they passed up on the opportunity to improve their team.

Player Team TOI FF/60 Rel FA/60 Rel FF% Rel GF/60 Rel GA/60 Rel GF% Rel SCF/60 Rel SCA/60 Rel SCF% Rel
Haydn Fleury CAR 494.2 -6.78 5.18 -6.66 -1.15 -1.44 1.49 -5.28 0.86 -5.09
Scott Harrington CBJ 256.33 -10.39 3.95 -8.55 -0.21 0.01 -2.38 -7.46 -0.21 -6.76
Steven Santini N.J 574.62 -13.89 3.33 -10.51 -1.1 -0.21 -8.33 -11.46 2.7 -13.21
Steven Kampfer NYR 197.2 -5.4 7.78 -7.48 -2.37 -1.04 -19.35 -6.62 3.51 -9.31
Robert Hagg PHI 665.43 -4.05 4.56 -5.21 0.92 0.02 9.35 -2.78 1.57 -4.17
Justin Schultz PIT 411.07 -5.63 2.75 -4.68 0.55 -0.34 8.45 -7.06 2.82 -8.39
Taylor Chorney WSH 252.27 -6.57 1.91 -5.4 0.97 -0.57 15.38 -8.43 1.4 -9.28
Cody Franson N/A 318.15 8.62 -10.24 10.24 -0.75 -0.71 0.43 1.26 -4.12 4.61

Franson is a huge upgrade for whatever team picks him up off of the scrap heap. The Islanders may not ultimately be the team that gets him due to the teams beneath them. With that being said, if the opportunity is present, it’s a move that must be made.