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Predators finally re-sign blueliner Cody Franson…

Nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh?

According to Joshua Cooper, the new Predators beat writer for The Tennessean, the Nashville Predators have finally re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Cody Franson, putting all Predators players under contract heading into training camp on Friday, September 17.

The former third round pick of the Preds inked a deal worth $1.6 million over two years.

The blueliner tallied an impressive 21 points in just 61 NHL games last year, good for fourth in scoring among rookie defensemen. Projected out into a full season, Franson would’ve finished third in the scoring race among first year blueliners.

One thing that makes Franson very attractive is his effectiveness on the power play. The 23-year old is never afraid to shoot the puck from any angle and, with Patric Hornqvist willing to set up shop in the crease, that’s invaluable on a team who always seems to favor the pass. His 90 shots were the most among defensemen not named Shea Weber, Ryan Suter or Dan Hamhuis, which is impressive considering he played 20 less games than Francis Bouillon and Kevin Klein.

If the Predators don’t pick up a verteran defenseman before the season starts, Franson appears to be a lock in the second defensive pairing. Weber and Suter will obviously skate together again this season and then, given their chemistry last year, it would probably fall to Bouillon and Franson on the second pairing. Klein, after a miserable season where he posted a team low minus-13 rating, appears destined for the bottom pairing.

And, to be honest, I’m not really sure where Ryan Parent fits in.

Franson has scored at least 50 points in a season at every level he’s played at. He tallied 55 points in 2005-06 with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League, he posted 51 points the season after and then bagged 52 points on the AHL level in 2008-09 with the Admirals. Preds fans hope that trend continues in the coming years.

UPDATE (11:23am): Preds make it official through press release.

PHOTO CREDIT: Frederick Breedon // Getty Images North America